Here’s Why You Should Stop Multitasking To Get More Done

There are only 24 hours in a day, but if you’re like most Americans, you strive to “create more hours” each day by multitasking.

Overworked Americans often juggle multiple projects simultaneously hoping to save time, whether it’s cooking dinner and talking on the phone, paying bills while responding to emails, and even more dangerous, texting while driving.

But new studies show not only is multitasking dangerous, it’s ineffective and doesn’t even allow you to get more done.

In fact, multitasking can actually cause you to create more errors, which will in turn force you to have to go back and redo your project all over again. reports:

“Experts estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. It can also cause you to introduce errors into whatever you’re working on, especially if one or more of your activities involves a lot of critical thinking”.

Research also shows multitasking is a myth.

In fact, people who actually think they are getting the most done by multitasking suffer the most.

Talentsmart reports:

“The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another.”

The brain can only focus on one task at a time.

By trying to “multitask”, you are forcing your brain to switch between two tasks, but all you’re doing is moving back and forth quickly between each task, not multitasking.

People mistakenly think they are more productive, but nothing could be further than the truth.

Even worse, multitasking can even lower your IQ and shrink your brain.

Time reports:

Multitasking doesn’t work. In fact, it decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. In addition to lessening your productivity, it also lowers your IQ and shrinks your brain—reducing density in the region responsible for cognitive and emotional control.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 report they had read or sent text or email messages while driving within the last 30 days. Worse, a whopping 69% report they had talked on their cell phone.

Your brain is incapable of simultaneously processing separate streams of information from multiple tasks. That’s because there’s “interference” between the two tasks, says MIT’s Dr. Earl Miller. So, in actuality, multitasking simply doesn’t exist. What you’re really doing is task-switching—the technical term for moving very quickly and ineffectively between tasks. You task-switch within tenths of a second, and thereby don’t consciously notice delays.”

There are still ways to get things done without multitasking.

Try grouping similar items into time blocks and tackling tasks in a strategic matter.

Set forth an hour to pay your bills, then another hour to check your email, and don’t do anything else during that time.

Instead of trying to “do it all”, prioritize what’s most important. Often what’s most important isn’t urgent.

Every email doesn’t need to have an immediate response, and your to-do list doesn’t need to be clear at the end of each day.

By doing one thing at a time, studies show you’ll end up getting more done in the end.

Do you think multitasking allows you to get more accomplished? Have you tried not multitasking for a day, and found you actually got more done?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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