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5 Benefits Of Not Multitasking
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5 Benefits Of Not Multitasking

If you’re one of those people who delights in their ability to multitask have you ever considered the benefits of not multitasking? Perhaps the very idea fills you with horror and you’re thinking that if you gave it up you couldn't possibly get everything done and that parts of your life would start to fall apart. I must admit that I have some sympathy with those sentiments.

Personally I love to multitask, because I worry about wasting time. I often exercise when I’m on the phone (well if it’s good enough for Madonna why not me?), I write letters and make phone calls when I’m cooking and I often try to write four or five articles at once, whilst taking phone calls, scheduling tweets and talking to my husband. I drive him mad but I’ve done it for years and it’s a hard habit to break. However, I am aware that it isn’t necessarily the most efficient way of working.

Professor Earl Miller, a neuroscientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology would agree with me. He has scanned people’s brains when they have performed different tasks and has reported that the brain actually flips between one task to another, but if you are trying to perform two similar tasks then all that happens is the brain slows down. The Professor argues that people are “deluding themselves” if they think they can multitask well .

Well the Professor may well be right, but if you find yourself overstretched with an over-packed schedule as many people do it’s hard to resist multitasking. However, there are benefits to not multitasking, so why not make a commitment to not multitask for one week and see what difference it makes. You may be pleasantly surprised.

5 benefits of not multitasking

1. Less stress

Trying to complete multiple tasks or activities from an over- packed schedule generally leads to feelings of stress, especially if you’re constantly worried about forgetting something, or letting someone down. In addition you may well experience physical symptoms such as anxiety and poor sleep. Doing one thing at a time will lessen the pressure on your brain to try and process lots of information at once and ease the sense of stress.

2. Work more efficiently

Instead of your mind constantly being pulled in multiple directions as you try to complete more than one task, concentrating on a single issue without distraction may actually reduce the time you have to spend on it, as well as meaning that you actually complete the task better.

3. Increased awareness

One of the consequences of multitasking is that you often only half listen to what is going on around you. This can have a negative effect on relationships. If you concentrate on taking the time to talk with family and friends without trying to do something else at the same time, not only will they appreciate it, but you’re likely to be more aware of what’s going on in their lives.

4. Greater enjoyment

If you always trying to do lots of things at once, it’s quite difficult to stay in the moment and enjoy what you’re doing. If you don’t think this is true, go for a walk (with your phone switched off) and just concentrate on what you see, without thinking about other things. Your brain will get a rest and you will turn refreshed.

5. Opportunity to reassess your priorities

If you take the step to decide that you can’t multitask then you will have no choice but to reassess your priorities and decide what is important to you, what you can delegate to someone else and what you might just have to drop altogether.

These are just some advantages that you may experience if you stop multitasking and you might find others. If you’re an inveterate multitasker it’s a hard habit to break and the reality of life is that there are times when you have no choice. However, the opportunity to lessen your stress levels, work more efficiently, spend time with family and friends has got to be a payoff that’s well worth experiencing.

Why not give it a go?


Street Talk

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