Whether Multitasking is Good for your Productivity and Brain

By Y K Gupta             Updated on April 10, 2020

Multitasking Productivity and Brain depicted by a woman reading book while also eating noodles

Do you love multitasking? But have you ever wondered whether multitasking is good for your productivity and brain?

Before continuing with your passion of multitasking any further, it will be better for you if you know how harmful multitasking is not only to your productivity but also to your brain.

Mind can concentrate only at one task at a time

Multitasking is not good for your brain as our brain is not designed for multitasking. That is why your brain can concentrate only at on task at a time.

You can argue that if this statement is true then how you can both drive and talk to someone on mobile phone.

Actually it only appears that you can both talk and drive, the act is that your mind is just hopping from your one task of driving and other of talking over mobile phone.

And this hopping coming on big expense and expense is your this act of multitasking is damaging your brain.

Have a look at this picture. If you try to have your meals while you are also working at your laptop then you are simply straining your brain and deteriorating quality of experience of both eating as well as of work-

Multitasking productivity and brain depicted by a woman working on her laptop and also eating noodles at the same time
Whether Multitasking is Good for your Productivity and Brain?

Examples of multitasking

Ever tried sending an SMS or e mail while attending a meeting? Not only it is strenuous, it also affects your reputation adversely of a well mannered participant.

Further, it is also a direct disrespect to the chair and other participants of

the meeting. And for a sure you will miss that part of the meeting as your brain already occupied in the SMS or e mail you are trying to send.

And imagine if the chair asks something related to that part of the meeting to you, then you will find yourself in a really bad and embarrassing situation.

You also get a very unbecoming perception of you in the mind of your customer when you try to answer his query while still working on your computer, without making an eye contact with the customer.

It is certainly unprofessional and your customer feels insulted as everyone wants an eye contact when someone is talking to him as it at is an evidence of an undivided attention which everyone craves so much.

Not only your are deteriorating the quality of your work as well as customer satisfaction you are also creating enhanced stress for you and also damaging your brain as your mind is hopping relentlessly on two tasks of working on computer and at the same time attending the query of your customer.

Same thing happen to you when you try to play with your children and also watch TV. In this manner, you end up deteriorating the quality of experience of both the activities.

Another example of when multitasking affects your productivity and brain adversely can be when you work on a lap top and simultaneously talk over mobile phone as well, as depicted in the picture underneath-

Multitasking productivity and brain depicted by image of a man in blue sweat shirt talking on mobile and working on lap top simultaneously
Whether multitasking is good for your productivity and brain?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Multitasking damages your brain

Although it appears that you can do more than one task at a time, but in fact it is an illusion, your mind can not multitask.

What actually happening is that you mind is hopping from one task to another task so quickly that you are unable to notice it. But it is coming at a big cost. And the cost of your act of multitasking is damage to your brain.

But, you don’t care as you are not able to notice it. As it is like blinking of your eye lids, you keep on blinking but for you it appears as if you are seeing uninterrupted.

However, the fact is that you can’t see during that short period when you blink.

In the same manner you can not experience the hopping of your mind from one task to other.

But, your brain get damaged when you multitask due to this accelerated hopping of your brain from one task to other and then back and forth again and again. For further evidences read here.

How multitasking is harming you not by one but in many ways find out in this video-

Multitasking results in lowering your IQ

Study has shown that habit of multitasking can reduce your IQ by as much as 10 to 15 points. Study shows that it is like you are intoxicated or like you have stayed without sleep whole night.

Your I Q for doing cognitive jobs like reading or writing declines to the level of a 8 year old.

Need not to say that compromising your intelligence, in addition to other harmful effects of strenuous multitasking, is a really bad deal.

Multitasking reduces your productivity

Multitasking is counterproductive. You choose multitasking with your intention of increasing your productivity, but as per the study it rather reduces your productivity.

Multitasking activities like responding a call while working on your computer or trying to respond more than one call on different instruments simultaneously results in more errors, more strain and less productivity.

In addition to it, this also results in poor quality of experience to the callers which leads to dissatisfaction to your customers and some point they may start thinking about deserting you.As everyone wants an undivided attention.

As quality of none of the work so conducted is of a satisfactory level, which also leads to less job satisfaction for you. Studies also show that multitasking also affects your ability to remember and recall the information adversely.

Ultimately multitasking results in reducing your productivity.

This happens as because of multitasking quality of your work goes down. Further, your IQ or intelligence also goes down, and you start loosing focus.

And all these components make you prone to make a lot many more mistakes and errors in your work leading to ruining your time in correcting them time and again.

And even worse some times the number of errors is so high in your work that you are left with no option but to do the same work again afresh.

The way out

So, as now you are aware of adverse effects of multitasking on your brain and how badly it effects your productivity, you must also be thinking then how to approach many tasks in hand.

The answer is simple that as your mind is designed to do one task at a time, therefore focus only at one task at a time. Pomodoro technique can be a great tool in your hands for this purpose, that I have discussed in my article improve your productivity with Pomodoro technique.

The idea is to work, as far as possible, in an environment where you can focus on one task at a time. Don’t make excuses. As most of the time it is your decision to multitask and you can avoid multitasking if you choose to avoid it.

Examples are, you can avoid responding a call when you are driving. You can choose to off your TV when you are eating. Further, you can avoid walking when you are texting or even reading a message on your mobile and so on…….depending your own multitasking habits.

So go ahead! Bid a farewell to your habit of multitasking which is so harmful not only for your productivity but also for your brain.

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Y K Gupta 

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Author: Y K Gupta

Author, Blogger, former AGM State Bank of India (SBI)

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