If multitasking is one of your business habits, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. The idea that multitasking helps to get more done is a myth, particularly in business.
Multitasking involves constantly switching between tasks. The problem is, this can sometimes destroy your productivity. A 2009 Stanford University research from Clifford Nass shows that heavy multitaskers are less mentally organized, they struggle at switching from one task to another, and they have a hard time differentiating between relevant and irrelevant details.
Multitasking affects our ability to focus – we’re simply more effective when doing one thing at a time.
Are you still willing to believe in the importance of multitasking? Here are five good reasons you need to stop multitasking.
1. Your Brain Isn’t a Fan
Some people take pride in being able to juggle many tasks at once. But when you do this, your mind isn’t focused on any one task. For instance, we often meet a new person and instantly forget their name; this is because we’re distracted and we’re unable to process or keep the new information.
Lack of focus and concentration can affect your professional life. By doing many things at once, you never focus on anything properly. And this affects your productivity and the success of your business.
2. More Tasks = More Mistakes
This is the consequence of the lack of focus. When you do many things together, your mind gets torn between them; this means your mistakes increase and you don’t do your best. Multitaskers are bad at filtering out irrelevant information. This means there’s a likelihood of mental cross-firing and overlap between tasks.
You can’t afford to make these mistakes. Instead, give each task your full attention, individually.
3. Multitasking Is a Waste of Time
When you try to complete small tasks while working on large ones, you end up wasting time instead of saving it. This is because your mind has to reset to each task following the shift.
Multitasking hinders you from maintaining flow states. For example, when you read a captivating book you feel like time stands still. You look at the pages you’ve read hours later and you’re surprised at how much you’ve read. Also, in business, getting in flow can boost your productivity by five times.
Checking your emails as you’re working on a project slows you down, and it extends your work day. And according to the American Psychological Association, doing several tasks at once can cause a mental block and it takes up over 40% of your productive time.
4. Multitasking Inhibits Creativity and Productivity
By devoting your attention to several tasks at once, you lack working memory to come up with new ideas and concepts that are creative. You’ll get your work done in average time and scope, but it will lack greatness.
Focusing on several things makes us anxious, and our bodies access primitive brain structures designed to keep us safe from danger. This stops us from accessing other areas such as frontal lobes, adapted for creative and critical thinking.
5. Multitasking Causes Burnout
According to Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist, multitasking is taxing to the brain and it drains important energy. Doing several things at once causes the brain to switch attention from one task to another. This causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the fuel they need to stay on task.
The rapid and continual switching involved in multitasking makes the brain burn fuel rapidly and so we feel exhausted and disoriented – even after a short time. This is because we’re rapidly depleting nutrients in our brain.
Do you ever wonder why you feel exhausted, even after a good night of sleep or after a long vacation? Now you know why.
Considering the reasons above, it’s easy to see why the value of multitasking is a myth. And it helps no one to achieve anything important efficiently. Stop trying to do everything at once! Streamline your process and make the most out of your designated work time, to boost your productivity and grow your business.