Multitasking is Killing You!

Do you feel stressed out? Are you working around the clock and feeling that you don’t get anything done? Do you wish that there were more hours in a day? Well if you are multitasking you are most likely feeling this way.

People have been taught recently that you must be able to multitask if you want to get ahead in life. That you are not a productive member of society if you cannot multitask. Or that you are not productive enough without multitasking. But there is a huge flaw in this thought. You are never multitasking, you are split-tasking.

You see you are in fact really never doing more than one task at time. You are doing one task, say writing a blog post, then you have to stop that task to do the other task, say answer the phone. You are not really doing both tasks at the same time. You are just slitting your attention between that two. Now you may say that you are indeed multitasking because you can answer the phone and still type out your blog at the same time but I counter that with are you talking or typing at any one point in time. Have you ever noticed that when you are talking to someone while you are typing or writing something that what you are talking about is in fact what appears on the paper or computer screen. You my friend were not multitasking. You were making errors.  This is because your attention is being divided between 2 or more activities and this leads to errors. This is also why driving while texting or talking on the phone is very dangerous. It is proven that multitasking actually takes longer to do the tasks when they are performed in a multitasking way than if they were done one right after the other. It is also proven that the performance of the work is not at high and that there are more errors made while multitasking causing more time to be spent on the task to fix those errors. Microsoft did a study that showed that when someone was briefly distracted from their task that it took on average 15 minutes for that person to return their attention to the task at hand. Imagine the amount of wasted money just because of a brief interruption to someone concentrating on a single task. Now consider it while multitasking.

Studies show that the more someone tries to multitask (split-task) the more stressed that person feels. Studies also show that the more stressed one feels the more likely that person will develop headaches, back pain, colds and flus, and even more serious diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Also, the more stressed someone feels the more likely they are to miss work, miss deadlines, and have poor work performance overall.

One of the worst places to try to multitask is at home and with the family. This has even been shown to lead to very unhappy marriages and even divorce.

If you want more time in your life and want to accomplish more with your time then STOP MULTITASKING! The average person who stops multitasking and focuses on one task at a time will save around 15 hours per week. That is 780 hours a year. Not including the reduced stress and all that goes with it.

Speaking of interruptions. I was interrupted 3 times while writing this to answer questions about patients. In turn it has taken almost 3 times as long to write this post as it should have taken.

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