So you think you can multitask with the best of them, but people are not machines, computers, nor inanimate objects. While it is possible to try to do more than one thing at a time, know
that your brain is not inherently wired for this. Our brains are wired to be single task oriented.
People like me do not like to hear that. My personality is much like “Tigger,” bounding through life. My husband explains that dealing with my nature is much like herding cats. I have endless energy, with infinite energy in reserve. While my ego would like to think that I can multitask as well as anyone, the truth is, for myself and everyone else, we would get more done if we would do one thing at a time.
I know, that sounds boring. I began my research for this article expecting to get a different response in the answers from researchers and documented studies. I find myself writing this article against what I want to write. But the brain works as the brain works, and my desire to say differently will not help either you or me.
First of all, the term multitasking is a computer term. While your brain is brilliant and amazing, it is not a computer. It is a human, deducing, calculating, configuring, sensing, thinking, functioning organ, made of flesh and blood, not steel and wires. We are beginning to work our computers so hard that in some cases, they are malfunctioning, and so are we. Of all the topics I covered under the umbrella of holistic health, the topic that is clicked on most is stress, anxiety and panic, worldwide.
This is an important message for employers, CEO’s and everyone who feels driven to succeed in this reckless work environment in the world today. Social media has sped things up so fast, that human beings are talking so fast we can hardly understand each other. And we think we can talk, and text, and drive, and eat, and shop, and exercise, all at the same time.
Wait a minute. Breathe. No, I mean REALLY BREATHE.
Since the 1990’s, numerous studies have been done experimenting with our nature and the limit of the human mind. Here is a sysnopsis of the studies.
1. The brain cannot fully focus when multitasking.
2. When the brain is multitasking, it takes longer to complete tasks, and is prone to error.
3. When presented with much information, the brain is forced to pause and refocus continuously as we switch among tasks.
4. When multitasking, the brain has no choice but to restart and refocus.
5. In the interim between tasks, the brain makes no progress whatsoever.
6. Multitasking people not only perform the task less suitably, they also lose time in the process.
7. The brain has a limited ability to retain information, which worsens when the amount of information is increased.
8. The brain can be trained to multitask better, but the multitasking hinders feeling happy and well.
Yes, our work is important, but it is not more important than you. Stop a moment to assess how you feel. Your feelings are your internal guage, letting you know how you are doing. Your emotions are the energy that fuel your feelings. If you feel healthy, calm and in control of your life, you’re doing fine. However, if you’re feeling unbalanced, over worked and taken advantage of, it’s time to rethink your plan of life.
Try tackling one task at a time. That’s a good place to start.