What is Multitasking?
Have you a certain point in time been working on your computer either at work or home and at the same time you are as well checking email, speaking on the phone, and replying to a fax? Have you at any time been talking on the phone, watching television, and eating supper all at the same time? How many times do you switch from task to task during the day? How about during the year?
If you have carried out activities similar to the one described above, then you are multitasking. Let us take a closer look at multitasking and your health.
Is multitasking affecting your productivity?
Let us look at the following instances:
- Your brain becomes laden. Consequently you work less efficiently. You become less productive. People today actually work about 50% of their capacity.
- Stress and anxiety levels increases. Multitasking over and over again, month after month, year after year, will take a toll on your health. It can be very harmful. It can lead to multiple health issues. Is it worth to have a heart attack?
- Focus and concentration is lost. This in return leads to less productivity and efficiency. It is a downward spiral. You lose your pace. When you lose focus and concentration you lose results. You don’t get the best results with that task. Multitasking is like an addiction. Multitasking and your health is very important issue to look at.
It is important to start focusing on one task at a time. The key is to take up an activity you like to do and focus on that. Take small steps each day. For instance take 10 minutes the first day, 15 minutes the second day, and so on and focus on one task at a time. Just taking small steps you will gain more focus, concentration, and results on what task you are doing at that time.
Focusing on one task at a time will make a huge impact in your personal and business life.
Can Multitasking Affect Your Health?
Our mind gets inundated every day through the media urging us either at work or home to double, triple or quadruple the number of tasks we perform at one time. We see advertisements on T.V., magazines, and billboards with people talking on the phone and doing something else at the same time. Therefore, it becomes engrained in our heads to do two tasks at once. We see it with business people; stay at home moms, workaholics, and even high school students. Multitasking and your health should be given a thought.
Are you getting the results that you want from that task? Is multitasking harmful to you? Or is multitasking helping you?
Multitasking can actually be hurting you. You probably have heard this many times. You focus on one thing at a time and you get the best results. However, do you practice this? Are we considering it worthwhile to put it into practice?
Really… does multi-tasking affect your health? It may seem like it is increasing productivity and saving you time and energy and many women are proud of their multitasking abilities. However, on-going research has confirmed that multi-tasking can have negative effects on levels of productivity and overall brain health in some cases. Multitasking and your health is a serious issue that you should not ignore.
When is Multitasking Considered Safe?
Multitasking is safe only if different stimuli are used. Experts agree that multitasking is safer if the tasks involved do not use the same stimuli, such as reading a message from the laptop while listening to music. Our brain is not designed to deal with the same stimulus challenge at the exact same time. Let us take note of that.
That explains why driving a vehicle and texting on a phone at the same time is considered extremely dangerous. You are using the same visual stimulus. The same visual stimulus is both competing for the same limited focus. Although it appears you are multi-tasking, you can only be actively engaged with one or the other. It is somewhat like self-imposed confusion. Multitasking and your health should be a great concern for you. Your health matters.
What You Are Actually Doing
So instead of doing two things at once, you are actually rapidly switching from one to the other, and back again. If your attention is attracted to the phone for a second and lingers on for a while, the job of consciously controlling the vehicle ceases, that is, you are no longer in control of the vehicle and, if care is not taken, catastrophe can follow.
Another scenario is when you are attempting to listen to multiple conversations around you. It is impossible to listen to two people who are talking to you simultaneously, because your auditory stimulus becomes overwhelmed. It is penitent to take a closer look at multitasking and your health and consider a plan to live healthy.
Multi-tasking Can Harm Your Memory Ability
Memory is the brain faculty by which information is stored and recovered when needed. If you find yourself multitasking, each task that your mind is tied up in will drain a part of your mental energy. As your mental energy drains, you become more absent-minded. This is because your mind begins to drift. You should have a closer look at multitasking and your health.
Even if you could complete the two tasks successfully, you will quite probably not recall how you completed the tasks. This is because our brain does not have the ability to fully focus on two or several tasks at the same time.
Every time you multitask, your mind becomes a juggling act. When you multitask, you are ruining your mind’s investment towards each task.
When Those Who Multitask Think They Perform Better
Zheng Wang performance assessment of multitask. A study headed by Zheng Wang of Ohio State University showed that people who were text messaging while being asked to focus on the images displayed on a computer monitor had decreased levels of performance.
What makes this finding even more disturbing is that those who were asked to multitask using the same visual stimulus, believed they performed better, although the results were on the contrary.
Though they thought they were performing well, their ability to focus on images displayed on their computer monitor plunged to 50%. The same study participants were asked to multitask using different stimuli, visual and auditory, and were found to have reduced levels of performance as much as 30%.
Professor Wang stated that performance level perception when multitasking is not the same, as the results proved. Researchers have also found that media multitasking increases your risks of developing impaired cognitive control. Therefore, stresses on the need for you to review multitasking and your health requirements. Multitasking and your health worth considering.
The most current research is confirming that multi-tasking means “performing multiple tasks sub-optimally”. Unfortunately, in addition to productivity losses, there is a compounding, taxing burden placed on the mental and emotional faculties. This results in accumulated stress, which is already a very real problem for many, if not most, to some degree.
It is important that you yourself more aware of the multitasking activity, when it is happening and try to remove the overload on your mind as much as possible, though technology today makes it difficult for us to avoid multi-tasking.
Being Organised Can Help
One of the biggest stumbling blocks a lot of people seem to struggle with is the ability to balance or juggle 2, 3 or 4 projects at a time. When you are running your own business you become the manager, secretary, PR, cleaner, payroll, office assistant, accountant and everything else that a good business needs to run, and wearing that many hats at once is going to take a large amount of organizational and, therefore, may lead you to multitasking activity. Being organised can help you tackle multitasking.
The following steps can help:
Write it Down.
Make a note of everything that comes up that has any relevance to your business. Quite often we think of things that need to be done and convince ourselves that we’ll remember it later, and then what happens? Yep, poof! Just like that, the very important phone call or email that we had to send falls out of your head until it’s far too late. You can plan/schedule your meals, work, sleep, etc. this will help to improve the quality of your lifestyle.
Organise Your Paperwork.
The more organised you are the easier it becomes to run your business. It is important to keep papers and files relating to different aspects of your business separated and clearly labelled.
Allocate Your Time.
As you have so many different roles to play it’s important to give each aspect your full attention. To do that separate your week into specific tasks that need to be completed. You can’t be too rigid with this as things will crop up from time to time that you just need to take care of but unless it’s unavoidable, stick to the schedule and get things done.
Get a Diary.
As well as noting down what you have to do it’s a good idea to keep a note of what you have already done. Get a diary in which you can enter a daily summary of your activities that way you will always have a record of what you did and when you did it. This can also come in very handy if you ever lose any work or suffer from any sort of network or computer failure.
Finally stay focused on what you are doing. If you’re anything like me there are times when you are your own worst distraction as your mind races around thinking of all the other things that you need to do. At that point get your note book out and write it down or stick it on a post it and come back to it later. To keep your quality of work, always finish what you’ve started.
Prioritize as with most goals in life, you want to strive for progress and improvement, not perfection. Most of us do not have time to achieve perfection in everything we do and still live a happy, fulfilling life.
When you set goals, make them achievable, attainable. When you make that progress, create a visual way to track it or remind yourself of all you have accomplished (i.e. stickers on a chart, a check list, a flower/penny/or other item to represent each task you have completed). This gives you a sense of achievement.
Do you have any concerns/comments? You are welcome. Make your comments below.