Why Multitasking Doesn’t Actually Make You More Productive

Permit me to recap what my morning has seemed like to date.

I answered a few emails earlier than beginning a load of laundry. I answered one other electronic mail, jotted down a number of ideas in an article define, scrolled by way of Instagram, after which returned a pair extra emails. I modified the laundry masses whereas on a cellphone name after which turned my consideration as soon as once more to that article define I promised myself I’d end that morning.

That’s just about customary for me — and I’m keen to wager the identical holds true for you. When there are seemingly limitless issues to get accomplished throughout any given day, multitasking is our new regular.

However, in case you haven’t already heard, as irresistible as multitasking may appear, it’s actually not probably the most environment friendly manner so that you can get your work accomplished. Right here’s why.


1. Multitasking makes you much less productive.

This appears counterintuitive. How can doing two issues on the similar time really make you much less productive? Properly, for starters, you aren’t really doing two issues concurrently. Scientists say that’s virtually inconceivable for people to do properly (therefore why rubbing your abdomen whereas tapping your head is such a beloved celebration trick). What you’re doing as a substitute is quickly switching between two duties. You bounce from that electronic mail to that undertaking, and so forth and so forth.

Not so unhealthy, proper? Think about this: That fixed switching counts as an interruption. You’re ripping your focus from one activity to dedicate it to a different. And, these fixed disruptions come at a reasonably excessive price. Analysis reveals that it takes a median of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on the unique activity that was interrupted.

So, in the event you activity swap simply 4 instances every workday (and, let’s be trustworthy, you’re doing it way over that), you’re spending almost an hour simply making an attempt to get your self re-committed to the undertaking at hand. See? Not so productive in spite of everything.


Supply: @brooklynblonde1


2. Multitasking hinders your reminiscence.

The opposite day, my mother referred to as me to remind me of one thing vital I needed to do. “Oh, that’s proper — you have to do not forget that,” I recited to myself whereas hanging up the cellphone. I figured I’d crank out one fast electronic mail earlier than tackling that reminder. However — you guessed it — earlier than I managed to circle again round to that, I had solely forgotten what I used to be presupposed to be doing.

Sound acquainted? That’s as a result of our compulsion to multitask is definitely sabotaging our reminiscence. Analysis from the College of California San Francisco discovered that multitasking negatively impacts our short-term reminiscence — which can be known as our “working” reminiscence. Your working reminiscence is what lets you keep in mind an vital deadline somebody simply informed you or the truth that you have to name and schedule a dental cleansing.

So, if you end up forgetting your lunch within the fridge after you informed your self eight instances to seize it or not with the ability to keep in mind a buddy’s cellphone quantity when she simply informed it to you, you may be capable to blame your multitasking behavior for these lapses in your reminiscence.


Supply: Colorjoy Inventory


three. Multitasking results in poor work.

One other hazard of not with the ability to commit your whole focus to one thing? You’re growing the probability of errors. Dr. Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore, authors of Arrange Your Thoughts, Arrange Your Life, found that multitasking will increase your possibilities of making a mistake and even lacking vital info or context solely.

It is sensible. I’m much more more likely to let a typo slip by way of in an vital electronic mail if I’m writing that message whereas additionally watching TV or speaking with a buddy. Whereas your urge to quickly swap between duties may make you are feeling like a productiveness superhero, it’s in all probability really resulting in lower-quality work than what you’re able to producing.


Supply: @alabasterfox


four. Multitasking makes you are feeling frazzled.

How does continually hopping forwards and backwards between completely different emails and assignments make you are feeling? Personally, I really feel completely pressured — my eyes really feel bleary, my coronary heart price quickens, and I finish the day feeling like I received nothing of actual worth completed. Evaluate that to spending a few devoted, centered hours to creating progress on an enormous undertaking. How do you are feeling on the finish of that work session? In all probability a complete lot completely different.

In keeping with David Meyer, PhD, a professor of psychology on the College of Michigan, that’s as a result of multitasking has been confirmed to spice up your stress ranges. Once you’re making an attempt to perform a bunch of duties — notably extremely vital ones — concurrently, your mind responds to these seemingly inconceivable calls for by pumping out a bunch of adrenaline and different stress hormones.


Your mind responds to seemingly inconceivable calls for by pumping out adrenaline and different stress hormones.


The even worse information? A gentle stream of these kinds of hormones can threaten your well being. Meaning multitasking isn’t simply sending you right into a psychological tizzy, it could actually really be throwing your physique out of whack as properly. This solely scratches the floor on the entire potential pitfalls associated to multitasking. From stifling your creativity to negatively impacting your relationships, this compulsion to cram as many duties as attainable into one time slot doesn’t have a whole lot of advantages.

That being mentioned, stopping this pure tendency will be powerful — notably whenever you’re saddled with a to-do checklist so long as your arm. The following time you are feeling the urge to multitask (which I can solely assume will probably be throughout the subsequent 5 minutes or so), problem your self to remain centered on the duty in entrance of you. It’s also possible to experiment with completely different time administration methods — similar to activity batching or the Pomodoro Approach — to see what makes you are feeling your most efficient.

No matter you do, it’s certain to be much more useful than continually switching gears.


How do you resist the urge to multitask? Tell us!


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