With a lot of people working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, multitasking seems more tempting than ever.
We are bombarded with stimuli every day, from social media updates to breaking news on our cellphones and TV, so multitasking seems like a logical response. Actually, there are many good reasons to avoid multitasking, even when it seems so promising.
-Multitasking is Stressful
The effort of switching from one task to another is taxing for our brains. Multitasking is so stressful that engaging in it leads to production of adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that regulate our “fight or flight” response. As a matter of fact, our brains seem to be wired to tackle just one task at a time. A 2010 study found that only 2.5% of people are able to multitask effectively.
The notion that we are being productive is rewarding and can turn multitasking into an addictive habit. So much so, that some people seem to experience withdrawal symptoms if they are not able to check their smartphone constantly, even while they’re working. This can have an impact on other important areas of your life. For example, it may create tensions in some of your closest personal relationships.
-Comes With a Lot of Risks
Studies have shown that multitasking has more downsides than benefits. It can lead to memory problems, increased levels of depression, social anxiety and chronic stress. In addition, multitasking trains the brain to have a short attention span and boosts our tendency to be distracted, which can be dangerous.
-It Actually Makes You Less Efficient
Multitasking increases the chances of making mistakes. As a result, your productivity can go down as much as 40% when you multitask. Therefore, multitasking actually makes you less efficient, defeating the purpose of doing a lot of activities at the same time.
-How to Avoid the Multitasking Temptation
The easier way to avoid multitasking is reducing the occasions to multitask. Putting away your phone while you work is a good first step. As an alternative to multitasking, experts recommend a technique called “shifting”, that consists in consciously and completely shifting your attention from one task to the next.
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