Say “No” to Multitasking
Many people ask how to do several things at once. We want you to know that multitasking is a myth. While trying to do something simultaneously, you only simulate parallelism. Our brain is able to switch from one task to another in a fraction of a second. It can give the impression of simultaneity.
While reading a book at a dinner, the brain focuses on text when you are chewing. Once you take food and bring it to your mouth, the brain switches reading in the background. There may be hundreds of such mode switches. But the problem is that multitask has a negative impact on our body. Medical authorities state that multitasking leads to neuroses, insomnia and even to… divorces!
Our brain has been constructed so that every time we try to perform two tasks at once it brakes. Single task perfoming engages both our brain hemispheres. If we add another task, the brain allocates its resources between two hemispheres. It inevitably slows down the speed of information processing. Moreover, scientists have found that multitasking adversely affects neural connections in the brain. Deterioation processes lead to a variety of neurological diseases. Besides, multitasking increases production of stress hormone, which has a negative imact on mental abilities, affects the muscle tonus (goodbye, abs), skin and hair condition,the functioning of the internal organs.
What about Caesar?
We have all heard that Julius Caesar could do three things at once. In fact, the story is much more prosaic. In ancient Rome, a visit to gladiator fights was a mandatory for the nobility and especially for the emperor. Often such fightings were continuing throughout the day, and nothing to save time, Julius Caesar was assorting correspondence and answering letters right in his loge. One day he was asked how he managed to watch at gladiators and write letters at the same time. The ruler replied, “Great Caesar can do three things at once: to watch, to listen and to write”.
“But what about the musicians?” – you might ask. And you’re absolutely right. You can, for example, to learn playing guitar and singing at the same time. Playing an instrument is brought to such automatism, that the musician doesn`t think where to put his fingers, and almost entirely is focused on singing. Multitasking can be trained, but it has its limits. One action will always be in the background while other is dominant. Perfoming two dominant actions is impossible.
Multitasked XXI century
It so happenes that XXI century forces us to be multitasked. The rise of multitasking is predominantly due to modern technologies and social changes. Sure, it’s a great benefit when you are stuck in traffic but you still can solve any work issues or enjoy shopping online via your smartphone. But it becomes kind of a disaster when you need to focus on an important report, but your phone is ringing off the hook and your colleagues, by some chance, pestering you with questions. Many parents are really concerned about their children doing homework, watching new “Game of Thrones” episode and chatting with their friends – all at the same time.
What to do?
As we can`t change the current situation, we have to adapt. Here are some recommendations to help you keep up with the time without going mad.
1. Planning. Spend 10 minutes in the evening plannig your next day. Set priorities: place the most urgent and important tasks in the top of the list. Leave small tasks for the afternoon. Use Google Calendar, todoist or ticktick to scedule your agenda, make notes and share it with your family.
2. Start your day perfoming creative and diffucult tasks. Don`t waste precious morning hours on small tasks and unimportant issues.
3. Break down your tasks into short time intervals. People have already developed various techniques for effective work. Pomodoro is one of the most popular method. The essence of Pomodoro technique is to divide your task into small time intervals (20 minutes) altered with regular breaks. Learn more here!
4. Eliminate distractions. Smarfton is the biggest productivity enemy. Take it away from your desk. Now many people feel an almost physical necessity in aimless flipping through the phone menu. It`s time to face the problem and to get rid of the temptation. The Internet is considered to be the second productivity enemy. It`s simple to distract while woking at the computer. Do you need radical methods? Use Nanny for Google Chrome, StayFocused or StrictPomodoro to block websites that distract you.
5. Take the time to check your mail. Don`t check the mailbox once you recieved your e-mail notification. Every hour set aside 1-2 minutes for your inbox. Determine what to do with your letter (remove / add to the archive / share) immediately after reading.
It seems that we save time doing several things at once. But we forget that the switching between several tasks takes time. As a result, we scatter attention and spend precious minutes trying to focus on the task. It only confirms the fact that we should not try to do many things at once. Multitasking may be pertinent only when the task don`t need high concentration.
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