In this crazy hectic world, unyielding boss and that insurmountable mountains of work. Multi-tasking have already become part and parcel of our daily life. Once considered the holy grail of productivity and and it paraded around as advanced level of cognitive capabilities. And they cannot be any more wrong about it.
Recently, multi-tasking have been slammed by neuroscientist as wasteful and damaging to our brains. They added that if you want to produce top-notch and high quality work that will be significant, you should avoid multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking prevent your left and right brain from working together.
According to neuroscientist in paris, they discovered that when a person is tasked with only one job, both the left and right side of their front brain lit up in sync, signalling that both side are working perfectly together. But when they were tasked with two jobs, researcher found that the left and right part of their front brain stopped synchonizing their activites, suggesting that the brain was being split up when individuals attempts to multi-tasked.
The neuroscientist added that is a bad thing as the front part of our brain is responsible for keeping us motivated. And it also help us to stay focus and coordinates other part of our brain to help complete the job. Spliting them would meant your brain become less efficient at keeping us motivated nor focused. Worst still, specialized data from other specialized part of your brain will be not retrieve with ease. Which could lead to low quality work.
The reseacher then up the game further by adding a third job. And reseacher have found that the participants routinely forgets either one out of the three jobs. Furthermore, even when completed, throwing in a third job would result in three times as much error than normal.
Furthermore, neuroscientist have found that our brains are incredibly inefficient at switching task and you would end up wasting much time rebooting the parts of your brain that is needed to complete that specific task. It’s very much like driving a manual car through 12 traffic lights in a row. You simply keep braking and acceleration, wasting much time and not covering as much distance as compared to driving on a highway which is smooth and speedily.
Your work will be full of garbage.
Studies have shown that people who multi task are less able to filter our irrelevant details. This is because multi tasking confuses your brain, causing your brain to activate more part of your brain then required. All these activated part of your brain would end up sending in unncessary details and clogging up your brain, leaving no room for relevant and important details. Worst, still your confused couldn’t sort out irrelevant details and they would end up in your work. Making your work look shabby, unprofessional and less likely to impress your boss.
For people who are focused on their work, they would get better and better with each repeated identical task. When a person is first presented with a new task, he or she would have to figure out a sequence of steps and procedure to get it done. And for people who can focused on one task, neuroscientist discovered that are able to memorize the steps and procedure after getting the task done once. And when identical task come along, they no longer have to do the guesswork and experimentation. They dug out the steps and procedures from their memory and simply droned on with incredible speed and accuracy. Furthermore, they are able to lock in their experience and this would help them avoid unintentional mistakes and produce quality work efficiently.
However, for someone who constantly multi-task, they would find themselve not able to memorize the steps and procedures. And when tasked with another identical and repeated task, they have to keep starting over and over again even it’s this the 5th time they came across the task. Neuroscientist speculate that when a person multi-task, their short term memory breaks down and this prevent them from getting better and faster at the task, resulting in a drop in efficiency.
Don’t do it especially when you are old
Researchs have found that old people are much worse at multitasking. Not only they waste more time switching from one task to another, they also make more mistakes. This is because old people’s brain are less plastic and have more inertia than young people’s brain. As a result, then they have to put even more effort to stop and restart different part of their brain for different task.
In a study, participants were told to recall a natural scene for 15 seconds. And midway through, they are suddenly showed a face till the experiment ends. At the end of the experiment, participants were quizzed about the face immediately followed by a quiz on the natural scene. Researcher found that older people have a much harder time recalling the natural scene. Further analysis of their MRI revealed that old man were also slower than young people at switching off parts of their brain that were focusing on the face and reactivating back the parts of their brain that were orginally focusing on the natural scene.
The adverse effect of multi tasking is lengthy
Multi-tasking can become a bad habit thanks to neuroplasticity. Of course the more your multi-task, the better you will be at multi-tasking. But being good at multi-tasking doesn’t mean you will produce quality work. Instead, you become more reliance on multi-tasking and it would take you more effort to kick this bad habit. Furthermore, studies have shown that habitual multi-tasker are more likely to suffer from chronic memory loss and attention deficit. Something that will continue to affect a habitual multi-tasker for a long period of time till he/she decide to kick the bad habit.
In conclusion, multi tasking was once hailed as the hero of productivity but apparently it seems that new studies from neuroscientist have debunked this myth. People who multi task are both inefficient and their work would be filled with irrelevant details. Furthermore multi tasking actually takes up more time because when you switch from one task to another, different part of your brain are constantly being on and off, without actually giving it chance to shift to higher gear. So next time when you are at work, stop multi tasking and give all your attention to just a single task. Not only would you be more efficient and productivity, you would also be producing high quality work that will really make a different. And not just small but many insignificanat job that you claimed were done.