The Bane of Multitasking: Five Reasons Why You Should Stop Doing It

“Most of the time multitasking is an illusion. You think you are multitasking, but in reality, you are actually wasting time switching from one task to another.” -Bosco Tjan

In today’s modern world wherein individuals are mostly perpetually busy, it can be rather easy to cut down corners and take shortcuts to make sure one makes the deadline. This is particularly the case when you are swamped with work tasks in the office. When there is too much to be done, and with the clock ticking closer to the deadline by the minute, one cannot help but search for ways to make sure everything that needs to be done is finished. And thus, the art of multitasking was born wherein individuals practicing it are fooling themselves to believe they are getting more done than simply taking on several tasks one at a time. Unfortunately, quite the contrary to what the are leading themselves to believe, multitasking is actually counterproductive and may even delay your work tasks even further.

The Bane of Multitasking: Five Reasons Why You Should Stop Doing It

A wise adage that strengthens this sentiment is one by Mitch Thrower who has said that “If you manage your multitasking, you will be much more effective than if you simply hop from project to project without driving them to completion”. Seeing as this is the case, it is no question that multitasking should rarely be an option when it comes to working tasks. Unfortunately, multitasking plagues most industries—from the specialists in an SEO company in the Philippines to the many of the big brand conglomerates. It should be made clear however that if your employees are practicing the same, you should advise them against it or better yet, inform them of the many reasons why they should stop multitasking immediately with the reasons listed below:

1. You are not really multitasking

The truth is, your brain is only capable of handling one task at a single time which makes multitasking a misnomer. What you are calling as multitasking is just an effective way to switch tasks now and then. After all, when it comes to attention and productivity, our brains only have a finite amount. Akin to a pie chart, whatever we are working on is going to take a major fraction of that pie which does not leave a lot left for other things—save for automatic behaviors such as chewing gum or walking. However, things that do require your focus and attention would rarely get accomplished as you attention is mostly expended in switching tasks.

2. It slows you down

Rather than save you time through speeding through tasks, multitasking does not actually save you time. The fact is, if you are constantly jumping from one task to another or back and forth, it will take you more time to finish it all than it would have been had you done it separately. A good example for this is people who are sending text messages while they are driving or taking calls when they are. Considering that your attention is split between the road and the person you are talking to, your car ride will inevitably be longer. Instead, do things by batches—send your emails at once, pay your bills at once, and you will see that it is much more effective this way.

3. You are making more mistakes

Switching between tasks causes you to make more mistakes than usual. This would mean that you would have to get back to those mistakes and correct them losing you more time than necessary. Apart from this, you are also losing productivity. Remember, if a task requires your focus and critical thinking, it should not be done in combination with other tasks as you will inevitably make more errors. Though it has been argued that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks without so much trouble, adding a third one, however, is a whole different ballgame. You will overwhelm your brain and as a result, commit more mistakes than you would have had you taken one task at a time.

4. It effectively stresses you out

Putting fires out here and there and tackling a lot of office tasks can easily stress you out—even more so when you are doing them all at the same time. It is also worth noting that it is not only the physical act of multitasking that causes you stress but the respective consequences it has a well. A good example of this is studying while browsing social media—one outcome of which is performing poorly in an exam causing you to stress seeing as you have conditioned your mind to think you have studied.

5. You are missing out on life

Individuals who are busy on doing more than one thing at a time fail to notice the obvious things—even if it is sitting right there in front of them. These people are so immersed in their multitasking that they would hardly see and stop to smell the roses and the like leading them to miss out on life. This phenomenon is referred to as “inattentional blindness wherein people who multitask may be looking at their surroundings, but hardly any of it was registered in their brains.

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Anika is a blogger and she’s currently working at Optimind Technology Solutions, a digital marketing agency in the Philippines that provide different kinds of services such as SEO, web design, mobile app development and much more. For more SEO tips check our site

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