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Multi-tasking: An Unhealthy Illusion!

If we can do two or three things at once why not right? It saves time and as we hear ‘Time is money.’ You want to be done with whatever is to be done faster, it sure is rewarding when you have spare time and it definitely will be recognized and rewarded by your boss. Yet do you think working this way is effective enough? 

In an age of instant gratification, automation, and time trimming, doing things one at a time is outdated and time-consuming. In a fast-paced dynamic and demanding environment at work and home, not doing things simultaneously seems a slow process to get many things done within a time bracket. It is a sure way of being outnumbered in jobs and can be a bummer for many around you. 

So, we pick up the habit of multitasking every day while being in the kitchen, while being busy at a workplace, or even while we’re in leisure. We multitask more than we realize to squeeze more things in a day, to be efficient and more productive than our past selves or maybe others. 

Even though we are trying to get things sorted by doing twice the amount of activities than an average person through quickly doing them at once, research suggests that we are only doing them faster but producing less results. 


How is multitasking harming our productivity?

We may think that we are putting less effort cleverly by balancing several works at once but the studies show that is not the case. You are actually affected in many ways. 

Juggling several things harms your short-term memory. A 2011 research from the University of California San Francisco found this method negatively impacts your working memory. Working in a multi-fashion method leads to increasing your anxiety levels. Neuroscientists state that multitasking drains your mind’s energy reserves, as you begin to lose focus leading to becoming even more anxious.

If you’re a creative person working with multiple things is a barrier to your creative thinking. Since you’re more likely to be in a state of anxiety and lack space between activities through multitasking, you are less capable of thinking outside the box. To be creative our minds need time to process and form ideas.

Moreover trying to finish your to-do list hastily causes you to make more mistakes and be less productive. Many researchers have found that multitasking causes people to take longer to do simple tasks, drops IQ by an average of 10 points, and can even have similar effects as losing a night’s sleep.


Why you should practice single-tasking?

On the other hand, single-tasking is advantageous. If you want to get tasks done at a higher quality and in less time, you should try single-tasking. As you multitask throughout your week, you will have spent extra energy keeping up with various matters with varying levels of complications. This will lead to you being exhausted and behind on your work. However, focusing on one thing at a time will likely let you in a flow state and lower your workplace stress levels. 

Additionally, when you are focused on doing something you want without distractions chances are you start to enter into a flow state of doing it. The flow state of work is easier as it is effortless and smooth as the name ‘flow’ suggests. Since the mind is super immersed in performing the required task, it is being done with skyrocketing productivity. As executives agreed that they were 500% more productive while inflow. However, flow requires sustained effort and focus, and doing other deeds on the side breaks the flow. 

Further, choosing to do one thing at a time makes you focus on what you ‘should do’ not what you ‘could have done’ letting your brain feel the ease of not championing to save a few minutes or hours by doing a lot. Such healthy habits of thinking can rejuvenate the mind, reversing how it ages. Hence, it builds and improves neuron connections improving your focus. 


Can you cross your to-do’s in less time without multitasking? 

Now that we understand why multitasking should be a big NO, we need to know a little more about how we need to move forward with our tasks. You may think you can get things done at great speed one at a time, switching to the next task instantly but you will still not be free from the residue of multitasking. You see our brains don’t work like that. 

We are not machines and our attention moves at its own pace. If we move on quickly to another thing, pieces of ideas and thoughts linger as attention residue even after crossing the item off our to-do list. This makes you prone to mistakes. 


Multitasking is not here to serve you

The multitasking culture is designed to let you stay with your current circumstances in terms of money, time, and effort. As you might have heard, it takes 20 hours of focused work to get good at something, it takes 20 hours of focused work to get good at something but multitasking tells that your time is the most valuable thing and not the hours one can put in being focused on a particular task. 

Over time you may get good with time management which is better than whatever skills you have or can develop. Since it takes focused hours of practice to be good at a skill or activity, you are less likely to reach those goals as your attention is split into the number of activities you try to fit into. 

You value time and are paid more for the time you give than the skills you may possess. Anyone wanting a job may perform similarly which makes you less of an asset to the company or replaceable at your workplace. 


Few words

Though your workplace, home, and every industry from food and beverage, and hospitality to financial institutions all say to get more done in less time by multitasking, they may be unknown of how it impacts their company. The market is filled with companies hiring employees who are capable of not only getting some things done but handling many responsibilities or are multitalented. They demand to have one person perform many things as a requirement as there always is a pool of candidates to choose from who usually just want to be involved with the company or want the job offered. Due to many circumstances, they may agree to the conditions placed by the company about all that is to be done by them though they may find it uncomfortable to accept the conditions attached to the job offer. 

Therefore, we need to be aware and warn the people of the consequences of trying to get more done every day through multitasking. We should let them know that this seemingly inevitable need and multitasking culture is engrossed in capitalism and can be used as a measure of exploitation.

Now, are you going to begin with the proven and effective method of single-tasking? This is a lifestyle and we would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.



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