What’s Wrong With Multitasking?

With today’s need to get things done and long lists of several jobs that need doing now, we are all pressured into multitasking! We may even think we’re pretty good at it and it makes us more efficient. However, a study from Stanford University has shown that it can kill performance and may even damage the brain. Researchers found that people who are always bombarded with several stream of electronic information can’t give each stream sufficient attention, can’t recall information and switching from one job to another causes a slowdown in performance.

The reason for poorer performance when multitasking is apparently due to it being more difficult to organize thoughts and being unable to filter out irrelevant information. Even worse, multitasking even seemed to reduce IQ if it was the normal mode of working; in a previous study researchers from the University of London showed it could lower your IQ by 15 points, or down to the level  of an 8 year old. And the damage may be permanent.

Even doing something else while eating has been shown by Prof Brian Wansinck, from Cornell University, to lead to obesity because we ‘forget’ we have had food and and consequently feel a need for a big snack in the afternoon. So eat your lunch away from the distraction of your work and your waistline will thank you!

Be mindful in what you do, whether it’s eating or working. Using Agile techniques will help eliminate multitasking and enable you to work more intelligently and there are well-being courses that will help you be mindful in other areas of your life, too.