Why multi-tasking does not work!
I thought I could do it all at once. I thought multi-tasking made me super efficient. I was wrong!
Hot on the heels of last week’s video on busyness (see: https://youtu.be/mZxXOFYzTcM) I am on a mission to empower you to get out of the overload and part of that is to get you stop you “multi”-tasking! Counter intuitive for a busy person? I have to multi-task to get everything done Gitanjali I hear you say?!! Well, stay with me!
You are probably sitting there like I did for many years…ok decades, feeling a little bit smug…ok a lot smug! Believing that you can multi-task whilst others can’t! Maybe it’s even a gender thing?! “Poor them, they can’t multi-task and I can!” I am so clever – badge of honour anyone?!
Well, let me make the case for you at least consider stopping it. It’s not easy I know but it is worth it and the science is very simple (trust me I questioned this A LOT with both of the neuroscientists I studied with last year!) You cannot multi-task! Your brain is not designed to multi-task unless you are one of the 3% of humans that research indicates are supertaskers. If you have a spare 40mins (!) to take the supertasker quiz (see: http://supertasker.org/) then please do and let me know…are you one of those 3%? I wonder how many other tasks you’ll attempt whilst you’re doing the quiz!! Ah, irony I see you!!)
It’s ok, I’m with you in the 97% who aren’t. Your brain, my friend, just like mine, is not designed for multi-tasking. What you’re doing is task-switching and it’s rather unhealthy physically as well as mentally.
Do you ever feel tired at the end of a day and think to yourself, all I did was sit at a desk all day?!
In my video this week I’ll uncover the science of what your brain is doing whilst ‘multi-tasking’ and why you might feel tired and make silly mistakes during the day as a result.
This week your challenge is a simple experiment (do it yourself and then challenge a friend and compare scores!)
Step 1: Time yourself counting backwards from 20 to 0 as quickly as you can. Write down your time.
Step 2: Time yourself saying the alphabet from A-Z as quickly as possible. Write down your time.
Step 3: Add those two times together. This is your single-tasking result.
Step 4: Now, do both those simple activities together. Count backwards whilst saying the alphabet i.e. 20 A, 19 B, 18 C, 17 D… etc etc and time yourself. This is your multi-tasking result.
Step 5: Compare your single vs multi-tasking times!
I did this experiment in a resilience masterclass recently, and one of the participants was wearing a fit-bit. Her heart rate went up SO high during Step 4. Now here’s the thing – the effect on her physicality wouldn’t necessarily have been obvious to her or us but even that simple exercise in multi-tasking increased her level of stress and agitation. Imagine how many times during the day your heart is racing with seemingly ‘simple’ multi-tasking.
You CAN task switch, of course you can, but what is it costing you?!
Are you convinced of the stress, agitation, fatigue and the mental and physical drain that comes from task switching now? Accepting that is a great first step! Now what do you do about it?! If you want to explore how I can help you overcome your overwhelm then book a complimentary call with me – I’d love to help you create a life you love Get in touch if you want to talk about it. I’ll also do a video on compartmentalising soon but there’s a lot of power right now in just noticing. Start noticing when you have 10 tabs open on your laptop or metaphorically in your mind and pause (and chuckle coz now you know it’s not great!)
And, as always, if no one else tells you today, I am grateful for you! Thank you for letting me be a part of your day. I challenge you to participate in the experiment this week. Let me know how you go with single tasking this week. Thank you for being a part of my world.
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