You have a million and one things on your to-do list and there are only 24 hours a day. Once you deduct a few hours sleep, at least 8 hours at work plus commuting in Sydney’s traffic, preparing school lunches, cooking dinner and entertaining the children, there is very little time left for yourself, never mind for your never-ending to-do list.
So, it only makes sense to multi-task and complete several tasks at once, right? Ironing whilst cooking dinner, trying to work from home with the kids in the next room, checking your phone whilst out at dinner, researching the family holiday whilst watching TV and driving whilst catching up with an old friend on speakerphone. Ever had a busy day where you did not stop, but you still feel as if you didn’t get anything done? That is because extensive research shows that multi-tasking can cause more problems than it solves.
Here are the top 10 reasons why we believe you shouldn’t multi-task…
1. Trying to juggle everything is overwhelming and exhausting. Our partner, child or assistant at work only needs to ask us an innocent question to cause us to snap.
2. Despite our brains not being built to multitask, we often open 20 tabs in our brains as well as in Google Chrome. Switching from one tab (aka task) to another and then back again requires more energy, which would be better spent focussing on one task at a time. This distraction is draining and unproductive as no task gets your full attention.
3. Multi-tasking can also cause forgetfulness. If you are told something whilst trying to multi-task, you are more likely to forget/miss crucial information and make mistakes. This is why mindfulness is so important.
4. Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London studied 1,100 workers at a British company and found that multitasking with electronic media caused a greater decrease in IQ than smoking marijuana or losing a night’s sleep!
5. We are all busy, but medical professionals in particular. So it is understandable that they often resort to multitasking, but unfortunately this can lead to critical mistakes being made. Mistakes at work for the rest of us may not be life-threatening, but if nothing else they will make you less efficient.
6. Additionally, a study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology foundthat multitasking has a negative physical effect, prompting the release of stress hormones and adrenaline.
7. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association found that multitasking significantly causes the elderly to have a greater number of falls and broken bones.
8. You will miss out on all the fun. Western Washington University discovered that 75% of college students who walked across a campus square while talking on their cell phones did not notice a clown riding a unicycle nearby. The researchers call this “inattentional blindness,” saying that even though the cell-phone talkers were technically looking at their surroundings, none of it was actually registering in their brains.
9. The main reason we all multi-task is to try and save time, but contrary to popular belief, it has been found that it will usually take you longer to complete both tasks if you are switching between the two than if you just focus on one at a time.
10. Studies have also found that multi-tasking increases depression, anxiety, stress, lower test scores, and being hit by a car!
So, what is the solution?
Learn the art of saying ‘no’, but also the art of outsourcing. You can bet that anyone who appears to ‘have it all’ is outsourcing as much as possible. Things still need to get done. We are here to help you tick off your to-do list. Let us help you do what you don’t have the time, inclination or knowledge for.
And when you have more time to spend with your family and focus on what you love doing, you will actually find yourself being more productive. And happy.