In our times, multitasking is the norm. Many organizations list the ability to multitask effectively as a top requirement across a variety of job descriptions. We pride ourselves on being able to do two things at once in order to save time and, theoretically, be more productive. But research shows this may not be the case.
It makes you think twice
It is possible to do two things at once. However, multitasking is actually just switching our attention back-and-forth quickly between two cognitive tasks. And, when we divide our attention, we make more mistakes and end up taking longer to complete the tasks. In essence, we are really "multiswitching."
Dr. Travis Bradberry, a leading expert on emotional intelligence and published author, says that multitasking may be damaging our brains. He points to research from Stanford University which compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers - those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance - were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another.
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