Many people find multitasking appealing because they believe it helps you get more things done in a shorter amount of time. However, did you know that multitasking is just a myth?
What we call multitasking is just the human brain switching between tasks so quickly that it feels as though we are doing them simultaneously.
It is also not a good thing to multitask. This article aims to inform you of why multitasking is actually bad for you!
1. You become less productive
Many people think multitasking helps you become more productive but the reverse is true. Studies have shown that people who constantly “media multitask” by listening to music or scrolling through social media while performing other tasks are actually less productive.
The main reason is that we incur switch costs every time we change between tasks. This switch cost causes a reduction in our performance or speed in performing the task.
Put simply, it takes our brain a certain amount of time to “reset” and start focusing on the task at hand every time we switch. For example, if I stop scrolling through social media and try to continue writing my essay, my brain will have to spend some time refocusing. Thus, we become less productive when we keep switching tasks.
While we are not suggesting you do your homework in complete silence without music or ban your phone from your desk, it may be more beneficial to put away all these distractions and stay completely focused if you have an important deadline coming up very soon.
2. Your memory may suffer
Researchers have found out that people engaged in media multitasking have poorer episodic memory. There has been evidence to suggest that this may be due to heavier multitaskers having a lower ability to sustain attention and thus, remember things.
Essentially, multitaskers have poorer memory and find it harder to recall things. This is one big reason to stop multitasking as having good memory is important, especially for university students like us that need to retain information consistently to do well in school.
It is also important for us to be able to stay focused over a long period of time. After all, self-discipline is one of the most important traits a person can have. Even when we graduate from school, we will still need to stay focused when we are at work and even when we’re simply pursuing our hobbies.
3. You become prone to overeating
Many of us are fond of using our phones when we are eating. During busier times, we may resort to eating while studying as well. However, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that multitasking during mealtimes tends to make people eat more than usual.
Basically, being distracted when we eat causes us to continue eating even when we are already full. This isn’t a good thing because it leads to unhealthy weight gain. Overeating may not seem like a big deal but it’s definitely a bad habit that can lead to health complications down the road.
Paying attention to your food while eating can help your body recognise when you are already full and help you eat less. It is good to take note of this especially if you’re someone who’s actively looking to lose weight for health reasons.
4. Your relationships may suffer
As mentioned above, multitasking can lead to memory problems and a lower ability for sustained attention. This can easily lead to problems in your personal life when you find it hard to recall things about your friends.
While this can seem minor and perhaps only cause your friends to be mildly annoyed when you don’t realise you’ve told them the same story three times, it will make you seem like an untrustworthy friend when you fail to remember important events you’ve been through together.
Worse, multitasking in front of people you care about by using your phone during a meal with them can cause them to think you don’t really enjoy their presence and don’t see them as a priority.
When it comes to relationships, it’s important to live in the moment and just enjoy your time together. If you do have to do something in front of your friends, it would be better to let them know what and why so that you don’t come off as rude!
Multitasking has become a way of life that’s been ingrained in us since there’s so much to do all the time, and technology allows for everyone to reach us at any moment. As a result, most of us have the habit of checking our phones in the middle of our tasks. While completely abolishing multitasking from our lives altogether may not be feasible, it’s still good to know how multitasking affects us so we can deal with the consequences better!