Reasons why you should not multitask

Every day, while juggling the demands of work, family, and friends, we are bombarded by an endless stream of information, emails, and social media notifications. Although it appears that multitasking is the standard in modern life, is it actually possible to multitask while still carrying out tasks correctly?

Doing more than one thing at a time has been our solution to the stress of attempting to complete so many duties at once. We respond to texts while working on significant projects, send emails while watching TV, and browse social media while spending time with loved ones. Is this a method of multitasking? Despite the impression that we are accomplishing a lot, multitasking may actually be costing us valuable time and energy.

Reasons why you should not multitask

Read more: Is It good to multitask and can you get used to it

In this article, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • Is it possible for humans to multitask?
  • Can your brain perform two activities at once?
  • Is multitasking real or just a myth?
  • What are the reasons why you should not multitask?

Is it possible for humans to multitask?

The simple answer is no. Your brain functions like a gearbox. Additionally, each task must be finished using a distinct process and at a particular rate. When you multitask, your brain changes how it processes information in a similar way to how your car changes gears to match the appropriate speed for a certain road. All additional adjustments, excluding repeated gear shifts, are automated in cars. On the other hand, your intellect is who you are. As a result, each time you switch mental gears, you must concentrate on changing your objectives, goals, actions, rules, and other elements.

Human exposure to technology has also been both a blessing and a problem. It facilitates our jobs, but can also leads to our misconceptions. The idea that humans can multitask has never been more common than it is now, thanks to technology, which makes it possible for people to carry out multiple tasks at once. Researchers, on the other hand, continue to hold that multitasking is still a myth, and they are able to do so because of the evidence.

According to a Stanford study, people who multitask struggle and do worse because they are unable to filter out extraneous information, which delays the cognitive job at hand. Furthermore, research shows that multitasking dramatically reduces our memory retention and causes the brain to take much longer to notice new objects.

Can your brain perform two activities at once?

Our prefrontal cortex serves as the brain’s control center when we try to concentrate. This connects to both sides of the brain and coordinates other areas of the brain needed for focus and goal achievement. It makes sense to think that the cortex can carry out two tasks independently given the enormous processing capability of our brain, but this is not the case. When you try to multitask, you may believe that you are focusing on two, three, or four tasks at once, but your brain is actually switching between them. In a healthy brain, this transition can occur practically instantly, giving the impression that the person is handling multiple tasks or juggling them when, in fact, they are merely switching the brain’s central focus within a few seconds.

Young people took part in four examinations in 2001 in which Joshua Rubinstein, Jeffrey Evans, and David Meyer, PhDs, alternately asked them to solve math problems or name geometrical objects. The results of the experiments demonstrated that participants lost time on all tasks while transitioning from one activity to another. As the tasks grew harder, participants lost more time. However, Switching between more difficult tasks requires more substantial time. The time expenses also increased as the individuals switched to unfamiliar tasks. They were able to catch up more quickly when they switched to duties that they were more comfortable with.

Read more: How to tackle a heavy workload effectively for greater productivity

Is multitasking real or just a myth?

In reality, people can only focus on one subject at a time. And what we refer to as multitasking is just fast switching between tasks as opposed to carrying out multiple things at once. The phrase “context switching” perfectly sums up what we’re doing. Your brain must move from one thing to another whenever you change contexts or tasks, however, this process takes time before you can fully engage in the subsequent action. Although the quick succession of jobs may provide the impression of a multitasking hallucination, the reality is quite different.

Your brain takes longer to turn over the more items you switch between each day. If it takes 5 minutes to prepare your brain for a complicated task and you attempt to perform 30 tasks in a day, you’re going to waste a lot of time. This will enable you to accomplish more in a day if you focus on fewer things.

What are the reasons why you should not multitask?

The following are 12 reasons why you should not multitask:

  • Multitasking is counterproductive.
  • It can put your life in danger.
  • might cause brain damage.
  • It might reduce your level of intelligence.
  • Multitasking causes stress and anxiety.
  • It affects your decision-making skills.
  • Multitasking affects your learning ability.
  • It impairs concentration.
  • Affects creativity.
  • It might reduce your emotional intelligence.
  • Multitasking makes you feel overwhelmed.
  • It can affect memory and concentration.

Multitasking is counterproductive.

There is a cognitive cost associated with switching from one task to another, which reduces our productivity. Gloria Mark, a professor in the University of California’s informatics department, claims that it typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to resume an activity after an interruption. We’d like to believe that multitasking is possible, yet doing so results in reducing the quantity and quality of attention given to each job. As a result, you are less productive than someone who concentrates on one task at a time.

It can put your life in danger.

In some circumstances, multitasking could put your life in danger. For instance, texting or talking on the phone while operating a motor vehicle can seriously impair your ability to maintain safety. It is not worth your time, effort, or even life to multitask.

might cause brain damage.

Researchers from the University of Sussex (UK) compared people’s brain structures to how much time they spend using media devices, such as texting and watching TV. According to the results of their MRI scans, the anterior cingulate cortex, which is a the brain responsible for empathy and emotional control, had less brain density among people who multitasked more frequently. According to neurologist Kep Kee Loh, the study’s principal author, “I believe it’s critical to raise awareness of the possibility that how we use technology may be altering the way we think, possibly at the level of brain structure.”

It might reduce your level of intelligence.

According to a University of London study, multitasking caused adult participants’ intelligence tests to drop to the range of an 8-year-old child. Consider the implications of reacting to texts on your phone while writing an essential paper or email to a client. The quality of your work and an 8-year-old child’s work won’t differ significantly. If you find it difficult to produce high-quality work on a regular basis, make sure to get rid of distractions from your surroundings and refrain from multitasking. By doing this, you’ll improve the quality of your job.

Multitasking causes stress and anxiety.

Although there are numerous factors that contribute to stress and anxiety, multitasking is one of the main factors. Our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol when we switch between tasks often. This hormone makes us tired, stressed out, and mentally drained. When anxiety intensifies, we act impulsively, adding to our stress. The cycle then continues, resulting in a continuous feeling of worry and anxiety.

Read more: Easy tactics on how to handle a lot of tasks

It affects your decision-making skills.

Making wise decisions is affected by multitasking. You must devote valuable energy to deciding what to do or not do when switching tasks. For instance, you would need to decide right away if you were responding to texts while sending your boss crucial emails: What should I do about this email? Should I reply to this text at this time? Do I need a break from my work?

Decision fatigue, a psychological term for the degradation of good decisions after making a long series of decisions, is brought on by these decisions and saps your willpower muscles. Additionally, you’re more prone to acting impulsively when a situation calls for you to remain calm or postpone satisfaction, and you won’t have the necessary discipline to take effective action in favor of the crucial aspects of your life. In reality, multitasking results in a series of poor choices that waste time, energy, and money.

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Multitasking affects learning ability.

According to research published in the journal Computers and Education, participants who used Facebook while texting and completing assignments had, on average, worse grades and GPAs than those who didn’t. The researchers claim that human information processing is inadequate for handling many data streams and carrying out multiple tasks at once. However, the capacity to pay close attention is essential for learning, yet multitasking makes it harder to concentrate on the current task. Low levels of attention make it far more difficult to learn efficiently than it would be otherwise.

It impairs concentration.

Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin claims that when you multitask, certain areas of your brain give you a dopamine rush as a reward for losing focus and switching tasks. The same areas of the brain that assist you in maintaining focus on a task also learn to look for distractions. As a result, you’ll constantly be checking your email and social media while working in an effort to find another source of dopamine. It is exceedingly challenging to interrupt the cycle of the dopamine rush associated with lack of focus and low productivity once multitasking gets ingrained.

Affects creativity.

Imagine a situation where you’re working on a significant task when your phone alerts you to an incoming email from a coworker. As soon as you reply to the email, you stop working. Your brain has just expended mental resources that could have been employed for new thoughts by the time you go back to working. As a result, you have wasted both time and creative energy on your work. An adequate amount of focus and attention are necessary for creative thinking. Innovative thoughts that came to mind while multitasking may slip your mind if you don’t maintain concentration.

It might reduce your emotional intelligence.

The capacity to recognize and control both your own emotions and those of others is known as emotional intelligence. Generally speaking, basic competencies in emotional intelligence include emotional awareness; the capacity to integrate emotions into reasoning and problem-solving; and the capacity to control emotions. An expert in emotional intelligence, Travis Bradberry, claims that multitasking may harm the anterior cingulate cortex, which is responsible for emotional intelligence, a quality shared by 90% of high achievers. Work is completed more slowly and with worse quality, and focus and attention to detail suffer. Furthermore, multitasking in social settings may be a sign of poor social and self-awareness, which are two essential emotional intelligence competencies for success in the workplace.

Multitasking makes you feel overwhelmed.

Have you ever wondered why you’re always exhausted, even after a restful night of sleep or a long vacation? There is a lot of focus and effort required because of the continual switching between jobs. The prefrontal cortex of the brain loses oxygenated glucose when attention moves from one task to another, which is necessary for maintaining focus. Your brain burns more oxygenated glucose as you transition between more tasks. Due to the loss of nutrients in the brain, you will quickly feel overburdened and exhausted.

It can affect memory and concentration.

According to researcher and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Levitin, multitasking may harm our brains even more than marijuana use. Levitin asserts that the primary component of marijuana, cannabinol, adversely affects the same brain receptors involved in memory and focus. Furthermore, multitasking may result in worsened cognitive decline. The next time you’re going to multitask, consider how marijuana smoking has similar effects. Why multitask if you wouldn’t use drugs while finishing a crucial task?

In conclusion

Can you multitask and yet be effective? The answer is no. Multitasking reduces our efficiency in all areas of our lives. It is a poor habit that harms your health, happiness, and productivity over the long term. There is hope, though, if you take control of your life right now and resolve to focus on a single task whenever it arises. Avoid as many distractions as you can when focusing on vital chores, including your phone, email, and other people. Set aside 10- to 30-minute blocks of time each day for focused work. Every two hours, take a little break to recharge your batteries and regain your focus.

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • Is it possible for humans to multitask?
  • Can your brain perform two activities at once?
  • Is multitasking real or just a myth?
  • What are the reasons why you should not multitask?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading, If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!