Multi-tasking is quite the phenomenon in today’s generation. Job descriptions require it, the business savvy may list it on their resume, and women boast of their biological ability to switch easily from left and right brain functions. Technology has been invented to aid us in the pursuit of multitasking; It raises the bar saying, “You can do more.” Just today, my i-phone allowed me to talk on speaker phone while getting directions while driving…. And if that’s not enough, I can just double tap and toggle over to see the latest tweet, or to google an address.
Culture implies that it is no longer enough to be busy, but that we must fill every spare second we have with not just one thing, but maybe two or three. However, multi-tasking has a lot more negative effects than we realize. Studies show that an individual’s productivity drops by 40% when they are multi-tasking.* Errors rise, and the length of time it takes to accomplish one given task nearly doubles. Repeated exposure to multi-tasking creates a biological urge to do more. Jumping back and forth between activities can release a spark of adrenaline, that the body craves in increased quantities over-time.
Because of the fast-paced multitasking world we live in, we struggle with maintaining focus. One task seems boring. We cannot drive without also talking on the phone. It is nearly impossible for one to go on a date without impulsively checking their text messages. We have to troll the internet while watching TV. During all of this we are missing out!
We miss the time that our spouse says we look nice, when our favorite character the Dowager Countess makes a smart quip, when the car is trying to merge into our lane. We miss our chance at love, laughter, and life.
Let’s stop multitasking. Let’s unplug from technology that aids us in this endeavor, and instead let’s focus on one thing at a time. One important thing after another. Not only will we be more effective, more productive, but we will be more alive, in the moment, and here for those around us.
*For more articles and research on multitasking:
- Mashable InfoGraphic
- Harvard Business Review : How and Why to stop Multitasking
- Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work