Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Myth of Multitasking

Keeping your mind clear; should you multitask?
It is a scientific consensus that multitasking does not really exist. This article from Psychology Today summarizes this pretty succinctly. What is physiologically happening when you switch from one task to another, is that your brain actually has to shift its activity (and as a result, the focus of nutrients) to different parts of your brain to make that successful shift. The more switching you do, the more tired you get, and the faster that tends to happen.

Think back to when you were really "in the zone" and pumped out an amazing essay or made an awesome webpage in one go. A lot of the impressive tasks we tend to accomplish are done in isolation either early in the morning or in the middle of the night where no Facebook or instant messenger notifications can bother us.

Now think about when you're in class, and you're trying to juggle answer your friends' messages on MSN and Google Chat while browsing Facebook and listening to the lecturer.

This and the success of cramming that many students can attest to shows a pretty clear picture of how to achieve maximum productivity. And multitasking surely isn't it.

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