The new trend is in – Mono-tasking is officially the way to go! It’s been a long time coming…
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of multitasking. I’ve always struggled to do more than one thing at a time, and it’s never been my cup of tea. However, I know many of you out there who take pride in juggling multiple tasks at once, from doing laundry and attending to the kids, to answering emails while walking, talking, and eating. But really, why would you want to? I hold the 90s responsible for this phenomenon. However, times have changed, and it appears that we monotaskers may have been right all along…
Research has now shown us that our brains perform best when we focus on a single task at a time. When we attempt to multitask, our brains actually jump inefficiently and rapidly from one task to another, resulting in scattered attention. Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO of the thinking research and learning organization Herrmann International, explains that the brain is not a parallel processor, and attempting to multitask can result in a 50 percent increase in error rate and a 50 percent longer completion time for tasks. This theory is supported by the frequency of car accidents caused by distracted driving, such as eating, texting, or talking on the phone. In reality, we are not truly multitasking, but rather switching between different areas of the brain that handle each task separately.
What happens to your brain when you Multitask
Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, explains that our brains are not designed for multitasking. Despite the belief that we can handle multiple activities at once, our brains are actually constantly switching between tasks, which comes with a cognitive price.
Multitasking makes us less productive and more anxious, as it increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our body. Moreover, multitasking causes a drop in IQ scores, as the noise from all the activities clouds our concentration.
Brain scans support this fact, according to Dr. Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Montreal’s McGill University and author of “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload”. He explains that we tend to juggle different tasks like amateur plate spinners, moving from one task to another and then having to go back to the previous one. This results in the waste of energy and time. In addition, we can benefit from focusing on one thing at a time, such as enjoying our partner’s company without distractions like mobile phones.