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Study Says Multitasking Is Actually Bad for Your Health

posted: 04/24/17
by: Amanda Mushro
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I'm a master multitasker so if you see me at any point in the day, I'm always trying to accomplish more than one task. For instance, I don't just sit and wait for my coffee to be made in the morning. In the time it takes for my coffee pot to brew, I've put away a few clean dishes, started my kids' breakfast, and probably wiped down the countertops. However, I am married to a mono-tasker. My husband simply completes each task one at a time. When he makes coffee, he just makes coffee. That's it. While this drives a multitasker, like me, a bit insane, according to science, he is doing things the right way and I might be effecting my overall health trying to do too much.

 

According to researchers, humans are wired to be mono-taskers not multitaskers. One study found that just 2.5% of people are able to multitask effectively; however, when the rest of us attempt to compete two or more tasks at the same time, success is really an illusion because we aren't really being more productive.

The real concern for scientists is when we have spent so much time trying to multitask, we actually struggle when we attempt to focus on just one task. It's as if we have overloaded our brains on multitasking and we can't function properly on simple tasks like focus and concentration.

According to an article in TIME while we may try to focus our energy on just one task, our electronics make that difficult. "While we should strive to center on singular tasks, we have technological devices and resources that foster the multitasking myth," says the authors of the article Cynthia Kubu and Andre Machado. "Smartphone in hand, earbuds in place, we feel empowered to tackle the day's assignments all at once or to stay connected constantly."

It's not just adults who are trying to multitask and not faring well. If you have a teen or tween that is studying and taking frequent breaks to check their social media, send a text message, or turn on different music, work with them to break that habit now. Research shows that multitasking with technology negatively impacts studying, learning, and grades. So even if your kids tell you sending out a few pictures on Snapchat is no big deal, try to help them focus on just their school work.

For us chronic multitaskers, the authors of the TIME article suggest "Whether driving on a long trip, organizing an event, tending a garden or filling an order, we unequivocally perform best one thing at a time. Try it"

So are you a multitasker or a mono-tasker? Tell us in the comments!