A lot of people are self-proclaimed multitaskers and many more proudly so. On face value, multitasking seems like a great skill to have. Who would not want to boast about doing multiple tasks at the same time and produce greater results.

But can people really multitask and if so, can they do it well? Well at least according to science, no. Various scientific studies have repeatedly shown that the human mind can only focus on one task at a time, especially tasks that require thought and focus.

So the question isn’t whether people CAN multitask but if they SHOULD. Just how, you probably can text and drive (some might have even mastered the art) but you most definitely should NOT do that.

Here are a couple of things you should consider the next time you feel urged to add ‘multitasking’ as a skill on your resume:

1. The illusion of getting things done

How many times do you find yourself buried deep into work all day long only to realize at the end of the day that nothing really got done? Just because you’ve been busy doesn’t mean you’ve been productive. This illusion of being ‘busy’ tends to come from lack of focus or unclear objectives. Switching between tasks or projects increases the probability of things being half done, depriving of the satisfaction of a job well done.

2. Too many tabs to distract

There is only so much inflow of information the brain can handle at a time and that capacity particularly lessens under stressful situations. When you are taking care of multiple things at the same time, your decision making and critical thinking abilities are stretched to the limit leading to mistakes. Even distractions that may generally may deem as harmless liking having your social media tabs opens while working can seriously hinder your focus. We all know the scroll hole can be quite deep.

3. Having your time stolen

Another thing that happens when people proclaim themselves as multitaskers is that they may overestimate their own capacities. Multitaskers also generally tend to have a problem with saying ‘no’ more often and end up getting themselves into things that they’d rather not be doing. Also, when we supposedly multitask, we unconsciously lose our time doing menial tasks that take longer than needed or deserved.

4. Unclear priorities

Creating a long to-do list at the start of the day and ticking off the tasks as you go definitely feels great. But how many of those tasks are just time eaters? Are they all just as equally important or urgent? Which tasks would produce highest results? More often than not, we may forget to factor in these questions and what happens is that we keep getting stuck in the loop of ‘busy but not productive’.

Many times it may seem like there is no way out of multitasking, distractions will always come up, it is after all 2017 where people tend to have more gadgets than they do limbs, and things move faster than you can blink. That is why we need to split your time into play and leisure wisely. When you are somewhere or doing something, be present. But also do not beat yourself up if you do happen to get distracted.

Najma Ghuloom

A curious mind and a wandering soul, in love with the idea that learning never stops. Constantly on the lookout for stimulating ideas and transformative thoughts. A great believer in the potential of enlightened human lives and currently trying to make that happen through Majra.

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