The Multitasking Myth: What it Means, Why it Hurts, How to Stop

We’re all busy. We wake up thinking about work, spend most of our waking hours working (if we’re entrepreneurs), and sometimes even dream about work. So of course we multitask sometimes. It can’t be helped, can it? And yet, many experts agree that multitasking is actually an impossibility. We don’t really multitask–we simply switch between tasks very quickly.

What is the multitasking myth?

Wikipedia defines human multitasking (as opposed to computers multitasking, I believe) as “the ability to perform more than one task or activity at the same time, such as speaking on the phone while driving a car.” There have been many articles written about the myth of multitasking, including articles by Inc. magazine, Psychology Today, and NPR. There has even been a TED Talk on the subject. Turns out, we’ve been fooling ourselves all along, thinking we’re doing more, when actually we’re doing less. But when that tricky ego gets involved, we feel more self-satisfied, although we’re doing less. By the way, you might like How to Face and Overcome One-More-Thing-itis. After all, One-More-Thing-itis is related to multitasking!

Why does it hurt us?

Splitting our attention between two or more tasks actually makes us less efficient. That going back and forth saps our energy and leaves us with less than if we’d simply focused on one task. Multitasking wastes our time, energy, and plays tricks on our minds. Our productivity goes down, not up, as we multitask more. In an article from Entrepreneur magazine, Suddan SS discusses the three reasons why multitasking is more unproductive than you think. It increases stress, weakens your memory, and kills your creativity. Speaking of creativity, have you read: How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity?

How do we stop?

As Nike didn’t ever say “Just don’t do it!” Maybe simply knowing that multitasking hurts is the first step, like admitting there’s a problem is the first step in many addiction programs. One thing that helps me is to have white noise or quiet noise on when working. It tricks your brain into getting on track. Another way to stop multitasking is to say no. Say it a lot. As somebody said No is a complete sentence. I like that one. Another way is to turn off all your notifications on your phone. All that beeping simply distracts from the work at hand. And nobody is so busy that they can’t focus on one thing at a time.

Speak Your Mind


WordPress Anti-Spam by WP-SpamShield

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed