“I f*cking hate multitasking”—Robb Wolf
I have been doing a bit of personal research about multitasking. Humans apparently are not very good at it. I watched a video the other day about MIT and Stanford University students who as you would imagine are very “plugged in”. They thought they were great at taking class notes, surfing the web, writing and replying to emails etc., all at the same time.
The interesting part is when they were tested in a controlled environment they really sucked at multitasking. You see the human brain is not set up for it. Multitasking sets you up for distraction, fragmentation of attention and general failure when you need to concentrate and remember subject matter.
Our ancestors did not develop in an environment of multiple attention grabbing inputs. Life really was slower for the majority of our existence on this planet. The interesting part of the study that I viewed was this; the professors of the students who are so bent on multitasking noted that writing styles have changed considerably in the last ten years.
Ten or more years ago, thoughts were expressed in a flowing manner from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph. Now the professors noted that the thoughts written by students now are in a form of paragraph with single themes, that don’t necessarily relate to the next paragraph forming a coherent subject.
With that knowledge in mind I have been consciously trying to not multitask anymore. In the work I do it is very easy to have several programs open and relating to what project I am working on at any one time. I have been slowing myself down and using the minimum of processes to get the job at hand completed.
This has been eye opening as I am finding that my workload and the stresses that it usually builds within me are diminishing. I am focusing on one task at a time, one thought at a time and the rewards are revealing themselves slowly but surely.
Try it you might like it. If you have the TV on, watch TV. Read a book then don’t read a book and reply to text messages. Use your mind in a way that it was designed to be used, doing one thing at a time and doing it well. Note any relief in your stress levels that you have and adjust accordingly.