Human multitasking refers to the execution of more than one task by an individual at the same time. The term was taken from computer multitasking.
There are many days to day life examples of Multitasking. An example of multitasking is studying while chatting on the phone or Talking over a call and writing an email to a client and also watching headlines of news on tv etc.
Many believe that multitasking can result in wastage of time due to insufficient attention and hence cause more errors. Even if people say they are good at multitasking, their performance degrades, no matter how much attention is given to all the tasks done simultaneously.
The reason is simple – The brain gets tired. Because the brain is not able to focus fully while multitasking, it takes longer to complete tasks and hence chances of error are higher. It takes less time to complete the tasks if they are done sequentially, rather than doing them all at one time. This is mainly because the brain is compelled to restart and refocus, thus reducing the occurrence of errors by large margins.
A study by David Kieras shows that in the gap between each switch, the brain makes no progress. Therefore, during multitasking not only the performance is affected, time is also wasted. It’s all about focus and consciousness. Our brain is designed as such that it can focus only on one thing at a time.
Many people report the loss of short-term memory, and this happens due to lack of focus. Further, multitasking can be very stressful. Researchers report that a shell-shaped region in the centre of the mammalian brain, known as the thalamic reticular nucleus or TRN, is responsible for the ability to multitask. TRN neutron acts like a “switchboard”, continuously filtering sensory information and shifting attention onto one sense – like sight- while blocking out distracting information from other senses including sound.
Avoding multitasking is good for relationships. If you’re reading your email while someone is talking to you, you’re not really listening or you’re not retaining what you read. Either way, it’s just no good.
Various studies show multiple effects of multitasking as follows:
- According to Libby Tennikait, a science teacher at Rochester High School, keeping multitasking out of studies is beneficial, instead, time should be distributed in short increments.
- Women who have a sex change loses the ability to multitask after being exposed to male sex hormones. Due to the shrinking of grey matter in two regions of the brain.
- According to research conducted at Stanford University, multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information can’t pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another efficiently.
- Researchers from the University of Basel finds that in some cases multitasking can improve performance if the task at hand can be best resolved by using a simpler, less demanding strategy.
- According to a research, multitasking is difficult for everybody in the early morning and late night. This performance decrement is constantly found during the night with its lowest point in the early morning.
Well multitasking is a myth, We would like to challenge you to try shifting to single-tasking. Focus on one task or project at a time, then switch to the next when you’re finished. You’re likely to see an increase in your productivity, and you will end up saving time, as strange as that might seem.