Multitasking and your mental health

Does multitasking affect your health? It may seem that it increases productivity and saves you time and energy, and many women are proud of their multitasking skills. However, ongoing research has confirmed that multitasking can have negative effects on productivity levels and overall brain health in some cases.

Multitasking is safe only if different stimuli are used.

Experts agree that multitasking is safer if the tasks involved do not use the same stimuli, such as reading a message from the laptop while listening to music. Our brain is not designed to deal with the same stimulus challenge at the same time.

That is why driving a vehicle and sending text messages on a phone at the same time is considered extremely dangerous. You are using the same visual stimulus. Both are competing for the same limited approach. Although it seems that you are performing multiple tasks, you can only actively participate with one or the other.

So, instead of doing two things at once, it’s actually changing rapidly from one to the other, and vice versa. If your phone attracts your attention for a second too long, the job of consciously controlling the vehicle ceases, and a catastrophe can occur.

Another example is when you try to listen to multiple conversations around you. It is impossible to hear two people who are talking to you simultaneously, because their auditory stimulus is overwhelmed.

Multitasking can damage your memory capacity

If you find yourself performing multiple tasks, each task in which your mind is engaged will deplete a part of your mental energy. As your mental energy runs out, you become more distracted. This is because your mind starts to deviate.

Even if you could complete both tasks successfully, you probably won’t remember how you completed them. This is because our brain does not have the ability to concentrate completely on two or several tasks at the same time.

Every time he performs multiple tasks, his mind becomes an act of juggling. When you perform multiple tasks, you are diluting your mind’s investment in each task.

When multitasking think they work better

A study led by Zheng Wang of the Ohio State University showed that people who sent text messages while being asked to focus on the images displayed on a computer monitor had decreased performance levels.

What makes this finding even more worrisome is that those subjects who were asked to perform multiple tasks using the same visual stimulus, believed that they performed better, although the results showed otherwise.

His ability to focus on the images displayed on his computer monitor plummeted to 50% even though they thought they were working perfectly. The same participants in the study were asked to perform multiple tasks using different stimuli, such as visual and auditory, and it was discovered that they had reduced performance levels by up to 30%.

Professor Wang said that the perception of the level of performance when multitasking is not the same, as the results showed. Researchers have also discovered that media multitasking increases the risks of developing impaired cognitive control.

The most recent research is confirming that multitasking means “multitasking sub optimally.” Unfortunately, in addition to productivity losses, there is an aggravating and burdensome burden on mental and emotional faculties. This results in accumulated stress, which is already a very real problem for many, if not most, to some extent.

Although current technology makes it difficult for us to avoid multitasking, just keep more in mind when it is happening and try to eliminate the overhead in your mind as much as possible.

For help to focus and change the habit of multitasking please read my article on Mindfulness.

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