The human brain is not built to process, record, learn or imagine many different things at once. When multitasking we are not permitting our brain to give its full attention to the task at hand. Our brain is still functioning at high intensity, which creates the illusion of efficiency, but we are not performing the job as well as we think we are.
Along with poor performance, multitasking robs us of learning and memory formation processes which are required to develop intelligence.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that when we think we’re multitasking, what our brain is actually doing is rapidly switching it’s focus back and forth among the various tasks. That “hyper-speed” switching has been found to actually impair productivity and even temporarily lower the multitasker’s IQ…or so we hope!
However, as important as this is, how we multitask impairs the quality of life.
Habitual multitasking eventually leads to an inability to relax, “turn off,” or to focus on anything for very long. It’s virtually impossible to be at peace if your mind is perpetually hopping among multiple attention-takers. Over time you realize you’re always tense, you don’t sleep well, and, perhaps worst of all, the people in your life feel that you’re disconnected and even uncaring. Who wants that in their life?
While sometimes it’s appropriate, and even necessary, to handle more than one task at a time, it is crucially important to your mental health to create some space in your life when you’re not being pulled in multiple directions. Space for quiet, for peace.
Here are some suggestions for today’s hurried-up, multitaskers…
• Disconnect from the internet or any “high-speed” device
• Turn off your phone at night AND during dinner
• Take the weekends off
• Take regular breaks
• Choose to “drive in silence” at least every other day
• Spend time outdoors WITHOUT your cell phone
• Read something OTHER than your Facebook, Twitter, etc. on your phone
• DON’T CHECK YOUR EMAILS while interacting with anybody…how rude!
This is the short list…there are literally hundreds of reasons to NOT multitask. Simply reconnect with those around you…most will appreciate it.