Stop Doing It: The Downside of Multitasking

By EasyUni Staff | Last modified 11 Nov 2017
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Human multitasking is an ability to perform more than one task in one time and you’re probably doing this day in day out. But do you know this unconscious ability seems to be so beneficial to, is actually overrated?

Here is a list of reasons why multitasking won’t work for you:


1. Affects Ability to Focus

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Distractions like ringing phone shift your attention and focus away from the original task at hand.

A behavioural study has proved that engaging in a secondary task or activity, such as talking on a cell telephone, will affect driving performance negatively.


2. Impairs Memory Capacity

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Too much information at once will over-stimulate your brain function, thus decreasing the capacity of your working memory.

Based on a study from University of Copenhagen, only a little over half of people who use their smartphones or tablets while watching TV could remember what had been on TV.


3. Increase Stress Level

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As you need to handle multiple things at once, your body will produce more stress hormone – cortisol, causing you to feel anxious, burnout or even fall sick.

A University of California Irvine research study concluded that employees who received a steady stream of messages had a “high alert” mode with higher heart rates.


4. Reduce Work Quality and Efficiency

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Continuous interruptions will only lead to loss of concentration and frustration as you keep switching between tasks and this will only drag your task progress and quality.

Most experts stated that switching between tasks can cause loss in productivity due to errors or mistakes in work.


5. Miss Out of Life

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Paying attention to two or more things may cause inattentional blindness as you are unaware of the beauty and happenings of your surroundings.

Based on a 2009 study from Western Washington University, third quarter of college students who were talking on their cell phones while walking did not notice a clown riding a unicycle nearby their campus.


6. Deteriorate Relationships

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Dividing your focus in daily conversations may lead to communication breakdown due to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of information.

A recent research from the University of Essex found that having a cell phone nearby during personal conversations can cause friction and trust issues.


Tips to Relieve Multitasking Stress

  1. Prioritize: Prepare a daily task list & focus on your most important tasks.
  2. Start early: Manage your time & work on your most important tasks early in the day.
  3. Limit distractions: Close down all unnecessary computer windows such as social media &off your cell phone for a while to avoid unnecessary distraction.
  4. Control your workplace: Isolate yourself from people who might interrupt you.

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Posted on 09 Oct 2017
Student Life, Useful Tips