Multitasking? No Way!
The post Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning brings up the topic of multitasking.
Many people believe they are skilled multitaskers, but they’re wrong. Neuroscience has shown that multitasking — the process of doing more than one thing at the same time — doesn’t exist.
I disagree on the word “doing”, we can do several things at the same time but we can only focus on one of them at a time.
“The brain doesn’t multitask,” said Daniel Levitin, author and professor of psychology, behavioral neuroscience and music at McGill University on KQED’s Forum program. “It engages in sequential tasking or unitasking, where we are shifting rapidly from one thing to another without realizing it.” The brain is actually fracturing time into ever smaller parts and focusing on each thing individually.
Each time we switch from one task to another we need time to refocus. That means we waste time with each switch.
People often think they are being more productive when they try to juggle tasks, but Levitin says not only is sequential unitasking detrimental to productivity, but it produces less creative work as well. Multitasking is also stressful for the body.
Trying to multitask creates a feeling of busyness but it’s less productive. It’s much better to focus on one thing at a time. When it’s done (or the set time is out), pick another task to focus on. Singletasking rules.