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The Multitasking Myth


Recently I learned that it is truly a waste of time to try and save time by multitasking. Studies have proven it actually adds time as our brains switch back and forth from one thing to another. All the switching means it may take up to 40% more time to complete tasks because we keep trying to regain focus.

Well, paint me blue and call me a Smurf! I have always thought I was a pro at multitasking... especially compared to my husband who cannot even listen to a conversation and text at the same time. My research brought to light that I’m not multitasking; certain behaviors are just second nature to me.

It made sense and I knew how this came to be! My grandfather was a Marine Drill Instructor. For those of you who have had the wonderful experience of knowing one firsthand, you can easily grasp why he was impactful. If you haven’t met one, just picture a 6’ solid tree trunk with a head attached. He made it very clear in his very loud, jarring voice which could be heard from one state away and caused me to instantly sweat that if I was on the move, something better be going with me. Take advantage of your momentum. Meaning, if I was running upstairs, grab the laundry basket. Going outside? Take the trash.

You get the idea. Trust me, after not complying a few times and having to answer for my laziness, it became second nature to clean or straighten up in passing. Really a simple thing, but decades later, it still gives me a quick feeling of accomplishment if I get three or four things done instead of just one. I always thought I was multitasking. Nope, thanks to my grandpa, I am just a good rule follower.

If you, too, believe you’re an excellent multitasker, I challenge you to give single-tasking a try. The need to be connected at all times has fooled us into thinking we can do all the things while operating a gadget in our hand. But we’ve all seen the video of someone texting while walking then they run smack into a parking meter. Isn’t that proof enough we should focus on one thing at a time?

TAGS: Culture

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