Are You Addicted to Multitasking?

Our lives move at breakneck speed. Our jobs have demanding deadlines, our families need our attention, and our weekly happy hour with the girls just can’t be missed. But somewhere amid a sea of to-do list items, obligations, and our growing list of goals, we run out of time. So what’s a woman to do? Multitask until she can get everything done, of course!

Only, multitasking is rarely that easy. And if we’re honest with ourselves, trying to cram it all in can be downright stressful.

Recently, I wrote about my multitasking addiction. On any given day when I’m penning article after article for CLUTCH, I’m often distracted by emails, responding to Facebook posts, answering my phone, tending to my son, and taking care of household chores. It gets mighty hectic.

But while I’ve allowed life to turn me into a multitasking fool, a moniker I once claimed with pride, what I’ve noticed is that my juggling act has often left me less productive and more stressed.

And there’s a reason. According to scientists, the act of multitasking actually slows our brain down, to the tune of about 40 percent. Moreover, while we may feel like super woman when we juggle multiple things, constantly switching between tasks actually makes us dumber, causing us to lose about 10 IQ points (sort of like we missed a night of sleep).

So while our jobs, families and friends, and tempting social network distractions may not stop, sometimes we need to.

Instead of constantly being on call, consider switching off your phone and other distractions when you really need to concentrate. (Consider using the Pomodoro Technique.) And when you’re with your friends and family, really be with your friends and family, not halfway listening to them while you obsessively check your email.

Kicking your multitasking addiction will be tough, but it’s also worth it. Your health, intelligence, and peace of mind will thank you.

Are you a multitasker? How does it make you feel?

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • Morning Rain

    I multitask quite often and hate it because nothing is ever 100% done.

  • Exhausted, great advice!

    Will try this in a week or so once I’ve moved flat, finished a course and try and find the balance with a full and part time Job! X

  • Mademoiselle

    I find that multi-tasking is really nothing more than a series of procrastination. What usually happens to me is I have one big thing to accomplish, but as little things interrupt me (and they tend to be the things with the lowest priority), I stop to finish them really quickly so that I can “give my undivided attention” to my big item(s). The other thing that happens is I’ll be on a conference call while slaving away at my computer. At the end of the call, I often know just about none of the main topics in detail, and only made a marginal amount of progress on whatever it is I was “multi-tasking” on. I would try to commit to being 100% dedicated to the task at hand, but the truth is big business doesn’t value the one at a time approach–multi-tasking makes you look like you’re getting a whole lot done, even if you’re taking much longer to do them or having to correct a bunch of mistakes from half-a**ing them.

    Hey! It’s what I get paid to do though, so…