Multi-tasking Myth Bust!


Time flies, that’s for sure! It seems as though the more progress we make, the faster time goes. This seems to be the reason why it has become second nature to do multiple things at once. Things such as talking on the phone while doing homework or watching TV while you send an e-mail. When you think about how much you have to do in one day, it seems as though the only way you’ll ever be able to complete all your tasks is to combine a few and multi-task.

However, what most people don’t know is that you’re actually slowing yourself down! A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that students multi-tasking performed up to 40% slower. It has also been found in quite a few studies that the more similar the two tasks are, the longer it will take for you to complete them. This in turn can make us feel overwhelmed and stressed. Also, prolonged exposure to the stress hormone cortisol which may be released due to multi-tasking can lead to aggressive behavior. Researchers have also found that multi-tasking, especially with technology, has negatively affected children’s social skills in that they are unable to interpret non-verbal messages. Multi-tasking also seems to be related to some attention disorders.

These findings are not well known or common knowledge by any means. However, they should be, so everyone can make better and more reasonable decisions of how to spend their time. So, next time you’re tempted to send a quick text while talking to a friend or “keep yourself awake” by turning on the TV while you do your homework, think about what you just read. Is multi-tasking really going to help? Or will you take longer to complete your goal and become stressed because of it. Sometimes, it is better to slow down and maybe that will in turn slow time.

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One thought on “Multi-tasking Myth Bust!

  1. Clare

    I agree with what you have said here. After reading this I began to think about how everyday tasks can end up taking longer because I am trying to do too much at once. Even writing emails while watching tv I can get distracted and it may take longer than it should. I have also found that when I direct my focus to just one thing at a time, not only am I more efficient but I produce a higher quality of work.

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