I have had multiple discussions with my wife concerning her ability to multitask and my opinion that multitasking is just not possible. Luckily for me I found scientific eveidence that proves my point. It made me feel better that I was right but I know my wife won’t believe what I’m going to share today whether it’s true or not. My research was found here at www.health.com and I would like to share some thoughts on what I learned.
First of all we all multitask to some degree everyday. We walk while staring at our cell phones, read e-mails while eating breakfast, and probably even catch up on sports scores while performing bodily functions on our porcelain thrones. However clever we might think we are for doing several things at once, it may not be healthy for us.
Performing several tasks at the same time means we are actually short-changing all these tasks because our brains can only fully engage on one task at a time. As an example, I will use a sports analogy. You hear athletes often times speak about being ‘in the zone’. This is a mental state whereby all outside distractions are blocked out completely and the athlete just does his job without really thinking or dwelling on what he is doing. When you attempt to over think something you are slower to react and therefore less likely to perform at a high level. Moving from one task to another might seem efficient but, one of those tasks is probably being performed with less than your full attention and can lead to a mistake being made. Basically multitasking is a waste of mental energy and productivity.
Multitasking can also slow us down while we think we are completing tasks faster. Walking and looking at your cell phone can be distracting. We probably walk slower when we are staring at our device and also increase our chances of being involved in an accident like bumping into other distracted walkers or maybe even being hit by a vehicle we didn’t see. OUCH. Don’t walk and talk or read, just get to where your going and view that text later.
Since performing several tasks at once can be confusing for our brains the chances of making a mistake on one or more of these tasks increases. I know from personal experience that I might get a text message from my OMP (omnipotent marriage partner) also known as my wife, for a needed item while I am grocery shopping. I am usually found diligently checking my grocery list on my cell phone when this text message appears. Sometimes I get distracted and forget to read her message. The item is not acquired and when I return home the OMP and I have a discussion about ‘forgetfulness’. If I had just stopped what I was doing at the store and took a few seconds to read her text I would have been spared the verbal avalanche I was smothered in when I got home. ALWAYS FULLY ENGAGE AND GIVE YOUR TOTAL ATTENTION TO YOUR OMP. As my hero Captain Cranky might say ‘It’s a rule so I have to follow it”.
Multitasking can also raise your stress level. I know there are times at work and at home when I just feel like I have more than I can handle as far as work volume. Recently on a ‘day off’ I found myself needing to complete daily household chores (laundry, scooping litter boxes, preparing dinner etc.etc.) with blogging and relaxing. Stress was high and attempting to juggle all those activities at once was causing my anxiety levels to rise faster than a river at flood stage. Taking a deep breath and having a cold beer helped calm me down and taught me a valuable lesson. No multitasking will help when your busy and a cold beer helps get chores done more efficiently. Now I do everything at home with a beer and I have less anxiety and get more accomplished.
Since multitasking actually wastes brain power you might also find yourself with memory issues. Please refer back to the paragraph concerning my OMG and grocery shopping. Trying to do too much can easily cause you to forget something important.
Multitasking can also hurt your relationships. For instance you’re at work and a meeting is going on and your distracted by a funny Facebook post. Not paying attention at work can be embarrassing. Likewise at home maybe your spouse is expressing their heartfelt gratitude for your existence in their lives. Looking at your iPhone during this profound moment can lead to a crime of passion being committed that results in you being injured or maybe even catching a bad case of death. Which most doctors agree is almost always fatal.
I hope these thoughts and comments help someone out there. I know I have learned my lesson concerning multitasking and will make every effort to not engage in this dangerous and unhealthy practice. This is the Cranky Chronicles and we approve this message.