For many, multitasking in a work from home climate is the name of the game. In a way, being able to work on your own terms, in your own settings, while being able to take care of life things (playing with your kids, practicing hobbies, running errands) is the work life balance we have been begging for, right? What if we told you that doing multiple non-work related things could actually harm your productivity and work? According to a new study, it can.
Psychologists have actually deemed multitasking as rapid task-switching for years and some swear the entire process is wearing us out. In your brain it might feel like you are ticking things off, but in reality, you are just quickly shifting your focus and attention between tasks. Jumping between different things can severely impact productivity. Research shows that your response time decreases the more you switch between tasks, reflecting brain patterns. Some experts actually believe that it can cause more stress and tension for the brain and energy.
Other studies are being done that show multitasking, like watching 3 different shows and reading a book, can disrupt your ability to pay attention. Additionally, it can negatively affect your memory and decision making skills.
Essentially, each task requires a specific amount of focus, and switching in between several will increase mental demand and fatigue the brain and memory. This is why you are already stressed in getting things done and try to do too many things at once. It will lead to unproductively and unsurprisingly, more stress and anxiety.
The important thing is to look at the root reason as to why you are multitasking — are you allowing yourself enough time during the day to complete all your tasks? Are you switching tasks because the one you are doing is tedious, non-entertaining, or for another reason? Of course, it’s difficult to focus on one thing only at all times, especially when you have other deadlines or personal commitments.
It is completely normal to multitask, or feel like you should be pulled in multiple directions. But at a certain point, you have to understand how it is affecting you. If you seem to go on Instagram or TikTok every hour or more, it might be beneficial to leave your phone in another room while you work. Or maybe you just need to have time boundaries that you actually stick to, allowing you focus on one thing at a time.
Looking to kick multitasking to the curb once and for all? Maybe it’s time for a digital detox.