It’s a skill we often put on our resumes to make it look impressive. Some of us unconsciously do it as we get through the day. Multitasking may make us feel as if we are achieving a lot, but recent studies have shown just the opposite. It may feel as though we are completing many goals at once, but our brains are not equipped for more than one task at a time. We are literally shifting gears when we attempt to multitask; draining the brain and wasting even more time.
Think of what happens to a computer when too many programs are running. It freezes from being overloaded and the choices usually are to leave it alone until it is ready to work again or restart the machine. Our brains work the same way.
We cause literal neurochemical chaos in our brain, which, in turn, causes literal brain damage. – Dr. Caroline Leaf
This switching is exhausting. It uses up oxygenated glucose in the brain, running down the same fuel that’s needed to focus on a task. – Olivia Goldhill (Quartz)
Multitasking doesn’t just slow you down and increase the number of mistakes you make; it temporarily changes the way your brain works – Society for Neuroscience
It may seem as if technology is making everything more convenient, but it is actually hurting us more. The more tasks we attempt to accomplish, we are more liable to make mistakes because the brain becomes overstimulated. Hence why driving and texting does not work and has been an epidemic for many accidents. Going back and forth between answering emails while working on another element of the job, will eventually lead to poor productivity. Don’t sit down to watch a movie while you Facebook – social media already takes us in too many directions.
So what can we do to be more productive at work and in our everyday lives? The key is to FOCUS.
- Spread your tasks one at a time, and make yourself a schedule if you have to.
- Take a break when you are feeling overwhelmed. Your brain needs time to recharge when it is exhausted.
- When you do take a break, do something to relax like listening to music, reading, or just go outside and enjoy nature for a few minutes.
- Put the phone or tablet away and enjoy an old fashioned date night with your significant other.
- When you go on vacation, take a few selfies and scenic pictures, but be sure to put your devices away and enjoy the view.
- Teach your kids to do the same. Young minds are more affected as their brains are still developing.
Life seems to move faster when we are bombarded with a million things to do and don’t have enough time in the day to do it. Perhaps most of our stress comes from trying to do them all at once instead of focusing on one task at a time. Give it a try. Slow down and plan the day accordingly. Don’t let those important moments pass you by because you were too busy multitasking.
Written by: Donna J. Sanders
Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia, Cardboard Signs, and Devour Me.
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Categories: Creative Talents Unleashed