We live in a world today where we almost never perform one task at a time. We’re constantly switching from one thing to another, going back and forth between writing an email to your boss and talking on the phone to a fellow coworker. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about multitasking. You may think that multitasking is the best way to get things done and that it saves time, when in retrospect it has been proven to be just the opposite. Multitasking not only makes you less productive and wastes your time, but it also harms your brain. Switching back and forth between tasks may seem to be the best and fastest way to get things done, but in reality it does the exact opposite. Multitasking has been proven to make you up to forty percent less productive (Cherry).
When we’re multitasking we have a harder time tuning out distractions, which can lead to mental blocks that ultimately slow down and hinder your performance (Cherry). When multitasking we are also more susceptible to lose the focus that we need to finish important tasks. Just imagine how much more you could get done if you were stop multitasking. Multitasking affects people from every age group. Multitasking ranges from toddlers to senior citizens. That’s pretty obvious. But what isn’t obvious is that young kids are the ones who it has the largest effect on.
Neuroscientists and author Gary Small says that children who spend their formative years multitasking lose out on the chance to develop crucial, but slow forming interpersonal skills (Naish). “With the weakening of the brain’s neural circuitry, controlling human contact, our social interactions may become awkward, and we tend to misinterpret – and even miss – subtle, non-verbal messages,” says Small. In other words, your child could become socially awkward if they miss out on these skills that are ignored when they multitask. Constant multitasking also increases your child’s chances of developing attention deficit disorder (Scott). Many people think that the more you multitask, the better you are at it.
After all, practice makes perfect right? Well that, however, is false. Studies have shown that the more you multitask, the worse you become with it. In a study done at the University of Utah researchers performed a variety of test on 310 undergraduate psychology students to measure multitasking ability. They found that the people who received a high score on the test of actual multitasking tend not to multitask (Nauert). The reason they did better was because they were able to focus better on the task at hand. In a 2009 study done at Stanford University 262 college students had to complete experiments that involved switching among tasks, filtering irrelevant information, and using working memory. They found that frequent multitaskers were extremely bad in all three parts.
The thing that stands out the most though, is that only one part of the experiment actually involved multitasking (Lapowsky). In other words, the more people multitask, the more they lack the actual ability to do so. So in this case, practice does not make perfect, it actually does the opposite. When you look at it from the outside looking in multitasking seems like it would be effective and it would help get tasks done quicker. But it’s not until you dig deeper you see how much it hurts you rather than helping you. Multitasking makes you forty percent less productive, causes mental blocks, belittles your memory, and can harm your children psychologically. Many people think they can multitask, and multitask well for that matter, when in reality they can’t. It’s been proven that legit multitasking is impossible.