Multitasking, Not Such a Good Idea After All

We are all jugglers. Don’t believe me? Try to analyse what you are doing at a certain point of time.

Published: 10th December 2013 01:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2013 01:13 PM   |  A+A-

We are all jugglers. Don’t believe me? Try to analyse what you are doing at a certain point of time.

Let us look at the time before you leave the house in the morning. What did you catch yourself doing and thinking? I am sure breakfast figured somewhere in that mental picture. Next, there must be something involving getting dressed.

And what about your mind? Is it where you are physically or running ahead of you? Is it on the classes ahead in the day, a test or something else entirely?

So you see, knowingly or unknowingly we all turn into jugglers or multitaskers.

At a certain point in time it was believed that multitasking — doing multiple things at once — was an asset but over time research has shown that our brain is not meant to multitask.

Research has shown that multitasking is not as beneficial as it was thought to be, rather it can harm our health. It is now believed that though doing many things at once may make us feel good about ourselves, the result of these tasks that you have managed to do at one go might be dubious.

Read on to know some more reasons why multitasking is not such a great idea after all.

■ You become slow: Yes, you read it right. Multitasking, instead of helping you save time, slows you down. When you keep shifting from one task to the other, you waste time recapturing where you have been and what you should be doing next.

■ Mistakes might go unnoticed: When your focus is on more than one thing at a time, you are bound to make mistakes. But that is not all. When these mistakes go unnoticed because of that shifting focus, you might be in trouble. Having to retrace your steps

or these mistakes being pointed out to you can be, to say the least, embarrassing.

The likelihood of making more mistakes increases as you increase the number of tasks.

■ Prioritising is better: Talking to a friend on the phone and copying notes might seem a good idea to you but think again. The friend might feel ignored as you concentrate on copying an important paragraph or your studies might suffer while you listen wholeheartedly to the friend.

But on the other hand, if you were only doing one thing at a time, the turnout would be much better.

■ It curtails creativity: When you are multitasking, you are using your working memory. This is a temporary brain storage mechanism. As per research done at the University of Illinois, Chicago, when this working memory is all used up, it takes away from

the brain the ability to think creatively or generate spontaneous responses.

■ It can be dangerous: Listening to music when you are on the road waiting for a bus or eating while talking or vice versa

can prove to be dangerous for obvious reasons.

As you hum a melody playing on your mobile phone or iPod or swipe the screen of your smartphone you are less likely to look before stepping on to the road and I don’t need to tell you what that might lead to.

Now you see how it is better to concentrate and prioritise your tasks rather than be a jumbled juggler.

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