The Truth Behind Multitasking

Multitasking | Source: Inc. Magazine

Have you ever tried to do your homework while watching a movie? In doing so, you’ve probably noticed how difficult it was to finish that math worksheet and focus on what was happening on TV. Additionally, thinking ahead to your biology test tomorrow, it might be even harder to study effectively, considering the amount of work remaining. What you’re doing is called multitasking, and it’s completely a myth. According to recent studies, there is no such concept as “multitasking.” People actually tend to get more stressed, distracted, and tired at a faster rate trying to do too much at once than if they were to tackle the problems one at a time.

Diving a bit deeper into the concept, multitasking doesn’t really exist. It’s merely how we say our brains are going back and forth between tasks very quickly. Although we can force ourselves to switch between concepts (sometimes even taking less than one-tenth of a second to do so), this extra time does take its toll physically and psychologically. As we are all human, switching topics quickly will require time for our brains to catch up.

Despite the fact that it may seem more effective to work on two things at once, it can actually cause detrimental effects on brain structure. In a study conducted at the University of California San Francisco in 2011, multitasking can harm your brain’s working memory space that is used to focus on limited information. In fact, neuroscientists have stated that doing too many tasks simultaneously can lead to increased anxiety levels, especially in high schoolers or teens. By removing the time needed to encourage creative thinking, people who multitask inhibit their ability to see new information with a fresh perspective. This can consequently lead to more mistakes and a lower productivity rate.

The next time you need to get something done, make sure to keep yourself in an environment without distractions or anything that might make you lose focus. By tackling one task at a time, you’re actually doing yourself a favor by being more productive and strengthening your brain’s memory storage system to encourage more creative ideas.

About the Author

Michelle Sun
Hello! My Acronym position is Lifestyle Section Editor this year. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, crocheting, jogging with friends, or even doing a few extra math problems. I'm an avid learner and am part of Girls Who Code on campus as well as cross country and track.

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