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Is Multitasking Bad for You?

June 5, 2014
Working on several things at once is something most of us do. This is even worse when it comes to digital natives who are constantly hooked to their digital devices. In fact, multitasking has never been as bad as it is now with the widespread of mobile technologies and the constant state of connectedness.


Image source: http://goo.gl/xdv5BO

Multitasking is so hard to resist and while multitasks are lured into believing that they can have more done by doing several things at once, studies show that such a practice causes productivity to go down as much as 40% .Worse even, research has also proved that heavy multitasks are less competent at doing several things at once than light multitasks. In another study cited in Harvard Business Review, people who are distracted by incoming emails and phone calls are reported to have a 10-point drop in their IQs.


What most multitaskers fail to understand is that when they multitask, they are actually only switching swiftly between tasks and shifting their focus from one activity to another. This rapid switching interrupts the flow of their productivity and wastes away their time in the process. Multitasking is among the major  causes of inattention blindness which in severe cases such as driving could lead to fatal accidents. The human brain is not wired to pay attention to more than one COMPLEX task at a time. This wonderful short TED Ed talk explains why multitasking is nothing but distraction.



I also invite you to check out this visual shared by Mashable featuring some interesting stats on how multitasking affects the average person.  I learned about this infographic from Tony Vincent.


multitasking
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  1. There is a wonderful little book that is easy to read about this problem: "The Myth of Multitasking" (How "Doing it All" Gets Nothing Done) by Dave Crenshaw. I read it to earn 5 hours of CPE and now I laugh each time I see an add in the paper that says the required person should be able to multitask!

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