Multitasking, is it possible?

Postdate: 11 May 2017

Multitasking seems to be normal way of doing in everyone’s daily lives. A colleague who comes to ask something, or your smart phone that constantly takes you out of your concentration: distraction is everywhere, at home and at work.

Two things at the same time

The term multitasking means doing two or more information- or think processes at the same time, with the idea to do it with the same precision and speed, says professor Paul Kirschner. Maybe you think you can do two or three things effortless at the same time. In fact you can do this when you do these things automatically, like walking and speaking. The chance for faults and decreasing concentration increases when we involve the thinking process. Your work memory only processes one thing at the time, says professor Hal Pashler. According to research from the American psychologist David Strayer it is only 2,5% of the world population who is a supertasker. These are people who function as good or even better when they do two things at the same time. They are capable to regulate distraction and can temporally turn off other cognitive functions. In this case counts: How more you can ignore compulsive distractions (thoughts, sounds and notifications), the more tasks you can do at the same time.

‘Multi-tasking arises out of distracting itself’

Effects of multitasking

The myth that women are better in multitasking, came into being at the time women always took care of the children and the household. This was based on routine, but others call it multitasking. A computer, however, is capable to do more processes at the same time, but humans only have one processor: the brain. Multitasking causes a decline in productivity and concentration. Because you switch fast between tasks, you will be more easily stressed and tired. Social media excites the brain even more. It sounds logical that the information you need to learn is processed less deep when you have more distractions, then when you have an optimal focus. Concentrate on one task at the time (like reading this blog) has more results.

When you are multitasking, your reaction capability is slowed down. You notice less what happens around you. Frequent situations are for example making phone calls while driving, or sending a message during a conversation. You cannot hear what the other says, or you are less aware of traffic. In short, according to research, multitasking does not work: both for women and men.

concentration     distraction     multitasking     productivity    

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