Multitasking is bad for the brain: Study

by L&D24 May 2016
The rise of technology has inadvertently encouraged employees to multitask.
 
Indeed, whether its computers, tablets or mobile phones, distractions are everywhere.
 
However, it’s actually not multitasking, but monotasking which is “the new black”, according to Dr Jenny Brockis, medical practitioner and author of the book Future Brain.
 
And the best way to go about monotasking is to prioritise your work by choosing the top three things you need to do, Brockis recently told L&D Professional.
 
“You start with the number one top thing and you do not do anything else until that job is finished,” she said.
 
“By doing that you are applying your pure undiluted focus and working to a very high level. You get work done faster, and with more energy over to spare.”
 
There are several problems with working on multiple tasks at once, according to new evidence.
 
A recent poll of 1,200 participants in the US has found that constant multitasking is leading to an 'always on' mentality.

Specifically, it found that almost half of adults and nearly three-quarters of teenagers surveyed felt the need to respond to texts and other messages immediately, according to the research by Common Sense Media.

The result was a harmful impact on the participant’s attention span and the ability to get things done.
 
Michael Robb, director of research for Common Sense, said: “Many people think multitasking does not hamper your ability to get things done.”
 
“But multitasking can decrease your ability to get things done well, because you have to reorient. That causes a certain level of cognitive fatigue, which can slow the rate of work,” he was quoted as saying by The Washington Post
 
Moreover, another recent study looking at adolescents found that frequent media multitasking was associated with poorer performance on statewide standardised achievement tests of maths and English, and poorer performance on behavioral measures of executive function (working memory capacity).
 
“This relationship may be due to decreased executive functions and increased impulsiveness- both previously associated with both greater media multitasking and worse academic outcomes," said one of the leaders of the study, Amy S. Finn of the University of Toronto.
 

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