Driving while listening to the radio, watching TV and mobile at the same time, talking to someone while writing an email, cooking food while mentally reviewing your pending tasks… As real as life itself, multitasking is also the most sought after by companies. Today is one of the virtues. The recent appearance of operating systems and smartphones – Android 14 being the latest – that make it easier for us to practice shows that multitasking is already established in our lifestyles, but does it compensate? Multitasking, is it really useful? Is it true that it makes us more productive? And, if so, what price do we pay for it? How does it affect our health, our well-being and our happiness? This is quite clear in neuroscience.
Multitasking doesn’t make you more productive
Everything around us invites us to live fast, to surf the activities we do daily, instead of diving in and enjoying them deeply. Cal Newport, a professor of computer science at Georgetown University and an expert on this topic, recently published Deep Work, his latest essay on our ability to focus on a cognitively demanding task without distraction. . “In a highly competitive world that also encourages hyperconnection and multitasking, attention has become an extremely valuable asset.” However, most research suggests that multitasking rather hinders productivity by reducing comprehension, attention, and overall performance. Although we think we are doing many things at once, what we are actually doing is rapidly changing where we focus or concentrate our attention. Its consequences on our health are that it causes us physiological changes (such as increased heart rate), emotional imbalance, lack of motivation, restlessness and unhappiness.
4 ways to avoid multitasking and take care of your mental health
How does it affect our health, our well-being and our happiness?
However, full attention has positive effects on productivity and our mental health. According to neuroscientist Nazareth Castellanos, “Not doing so is one of the greatest sources of vital dissatisfaction. Our time needs an ode to slowing down. The amount of information that reaches us every second is so great that it overwhelms the brain.” At the level of consciousness, we call this “divided attention”. We don’t do many things, we move from one to the next at great speed. Our brain is a very inertial organ and of course we can get used to that dangerous state are worries”. To avoid this, you can practice these simple tips:
- Always put your mobile on silent when you are going to focus on a task that requires your concentration.
- When you have a lot of things to do and obviously at the same time, make a list and prioritize its execution order. When you focus on one, you forget all the others.
- Practice mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or mindful breathing. Mindfulness has been shown to re-wire the brain and increase gray matter.
- Order your spot. Maintaining order around you, in your home, at your desk, etc. will help you avoid multitasking.