Multitasking may be harmful to your physical and mental health.
Contrary to what most people think, multitasking is not the key to enhancing one’s performance. In fact, it can? compromise a person’s productivity and may even cause irreparable damage to the brain.
A lot of people believe that they are getting more things done if they do multiple tasks simultaneously. Well, this may be true if you are doing tasks that do not require you to use much brainpower. Thus, you will find it extremely easy to watch TV while riding your stationary bike, or cook dinner while watching TV. But that’s really as far as it goes.
Uncovering the Harm in Multitasking
Numerous studies prove that doing tasks simultaneously may not be good for you. Here are some reasons why.
Multitasking can stress you out. Dealing with frequent interruptions and distractions can stress you out. It may also have a permanent negative effect on your health and general well-being since the pressure of getting multiple things done at once may trigger a psychological stress response that may quickly become a source of chronic stress.
It can slow down your progress. You may think that you are getting more things done when you multitask but in reality, this practice can slow you down. Switching between two projects slows down your progress since your brain needs to figure out how each task needs to be done. In addition, you need to constantly remind yourself where you left off before you can proceed with your work.
It affects the quality of your work. Other research indicates that multitasking affects your ability to organize, concentrate, and pay attention to details. When this happens, you may be compromising the quality of your work.
It may affect your memory. Constantly shifting between two dissimilar tasks that require brainpower puts a significant amount of stress on your brain. As a result, your brain cannot fully process information, encode the info into your short-term memory and store it in your long-term memory. When this happens, all of the information would be rendered useless since you cannot recall any of it for future use.?
It can lower your IQ. According to a study conducted at the University of London, multitasking can have the same effect on your IQ as smoking marijuana or staying up all night. Participants of the study who multitasked as they performed cognitive tasks experienced a significant reduction in their IQ scores.
It can lead to permanent brain damage. A study conducted at the University of Sussex in the UK revealed that people who frequently do several things at once had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex (the region responsible for empathy and cognitive and emotional control).
Multitasking may increase your productivity to a certain extent in the short-term, but its negative effects far outweigh any benefits that it may bring.