WORKPLACE / APR. 01, 2015
version 4, draft 4

The Dangers of Multitasking

Multitasking
Online College

Think you’re a pretty good multitasker? Lucky you, if you are.

Some of you may be familiar with the classic 2007 Microsoft study which showed that multitasking is bad for you. This infographic from Online College.org builds on the study, and shows that only 2% of people are able to multitask effectively. The rest of us will have a go but soon realise that by multitasking we are actually reducing our productivity. Have a look at the infographic for more stats about the effects of multitasking on the average person.

Key Takeaways

  • The typical employee who uses his computer for work is distracted every 10.5 minutes. If this is the case, how can any productive work be generated? Given that attention is the midwife of creativity, how can ideas be borne? How do we effectively sort through the deluge of information we receive on a daily basis, so we know the wheat from the chaff?
  • When students bring their computers to class, most of the web pages that are open will be unrelated to their studies: multitasking won’t help you learn effectively.
  • Nearly 70% of people check their email or use a mobile web browser when they’re on a date; a number of studies have shown that multitasking stunts our emotional development.
  • Not only does multitasking reduce your productivity, but it also lowers your IQ by 10 points.
  • Multitasking confuses your brain and slows you down – physiologically. Thanks to the brain’s neuroplasticity, the structures of our brain literally adapt to the patterns of our thoughts – scattered thoughts caused by multitasking. Unfortunately, because neuroplasticity is not the same as elasticity, our brains do not simply revert back to their original state.

Do you still believe you’re a good multitasker? Or do you feel that multitasking simply forces your tasks to compete with one another?

See Also: Pitfalls of Multitasking

Next time you find yourself sitting in another economics lecture while snapchatting with your mate as you munch on your tuna sandwich, consider that this might not be the best way forward.

Do you constantly multi-task at work? Do you find you are more productive when you multitask or focus on one task at a time? Your thoughts and comments below please...

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