Multitasking: Is It Real or Not?
The concept of multitasking is very simple: it means “to deal with more than one task at the same time.” For example, you’re talking on the phone with your friend and at the same time “listening” to what your colleague at work is saying to you. You can “easily handle” both conversations. Right?
I doubt it, and I’m sorry to tell you this, but I know that you’re fooling yourself when you imagine how “good” you are at multitasking.
My advice is this: stop doing multitasking right now, and never come back to it again. It’s not good for your brain.
Let me explain. I’ll start with one of the many things people wrongly claim about multitasking. For instance, you claim that you’re able to focus your attention on a difficult conversational topic while watching TV. No, you can’t.
Remember that the brain can’t focus on more than one stimulus (i.e., a thing that rouses activity or energy in someone or something) at a time. When you try to hold a conversation while watching TV, you’re rapidly alternating your focus from one stimulus to the other and vice versa. In that split second (or minute) you’re only watching TV and not actually listening to the conversation or, conversely, you’re only listening the conversation and not watching TV. But you’re definitely not doing both things at the same time.
Now you know why it’s so dangerous to have a cell-phone conversation while driving. When you’re talking “safely” on the cell phone, you’re not driving. You believe that you’re driving, but you’re definitely not driving attentively. Even hands-free conversation on the phone is dangerous, because the problem with multitasking is located in the brain, and not in your hands.
You claim that although you’re young and mentally fit, you’re forgetting many simple things during the day, and you don’t know what to do about it. The solution is very simple: don’t distract yourself with multitasking. Focus on what you’re doing, one thing at a time. Focus your attention with the aim to remember, and you’ll remember it. Don’t pay attention to anything else; if you do, you’ll create something that’s known as a competing distraction.
Multitasking uses extremely large amounts of brain energy-unnecessarily. Save your brain energy by refraining from multitasking, and you’ll be less tired after a long day at work.
“Multitasking” is an illusion. When you accept this fact, you’ll be more efficient, you’ll increase your performance, and, most importantly, you’ll keep your brain healthy. Did you know that multitasking shrinks your brain’s gray matter (literally, your brain)? (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gray-matter)
No, multitasking doesn’t exist in reality. It’s an illusion-and a harmful one, at that.