Why not do two, or even three things at the same time, instead of one?
As a life sciences professional, you probably know that our brains are not wired to multitask. As a human being; however, you might be tempted to do it anyways and fool yourself into thinking you’re a multitasking extraordinaire because you can text a friend and watch tv at the same time.
Studies show that multitasking is ineffective because the brain is designed to focus on one thing at a time. Switching back and forth between tasks causes you to miss important details and never allows you to concentrate on a single task. Experts also say it can take as long as 20 minutes to get your mind fully re-engaged to a task after being interrupted.
When it comes to cognitive tasks, what you’re doing is known as task-switching. Back and forth. Back and forth. Task-switching depletes your mental energy at a quicker rate and never allows you to “get in the zone.” The bottom line, you are being the opposite of productive.
Switching back and forth between tasks at a rapid rate while trying to focus on more than one thing at a time is a recipe for disaster. Your brain and body are in a state of chaos, which leads to errors and stress. Those are two things that certainly won’t earn you that big promotion you’re working towards, right? Researchers at the University of California Irvine showed that chronic multitaskers had elevated heartbeats compared to their calmer singularly focused co-workers. The multitaskers were in a constant state of high alert. This state wears on your physical and mental health.
The lesson is simple – there is no secret, multitasking is overrated. Stop doing it. You’ll be happier and more productive.
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