Why You Should Stop Trying to Multitask

Singaporeans, like many other people around the world, like to be on their phones while walking. The dangerous part is, we do it all the time. Even while crossing the road! Multitasking doesn’t only spell dangers for us in the forms of accidents, it can also affect our mental well-being.

1. We’re not made to multitask

Our mind simply cannot focus on more than one task. Many people seem to think that they are great multitaskers, but as much as they take pride in this, it’s simply just an illusion. In fact, a study by the University of Utah showed that those who tend to do a single thing at a time scored better on an actual multi-tasking test because they were able to focus on the task they were given.

2. You make more mistakes

When we juggle between doing multiple tasks, it becomes normal to make more mistakes. This is simply because our brain becomes divided with doing too many different things at once. When this happens, the information that we process overlap with other information in another thing that we’re doing, leading to us making more errors. 

3. It slows you down

Now in connection to what was said earlier, you slow down because you now have more mistakes to fix. Even without taking the mistakes into account, it might take you longer to finish two projects when you’re switching back and forth between them compared to separately focusing on each one.

4. It dulls creativity

When we use our attention on too many things at one time, we exhaust our working memory.  Our working memory, in simple terms, holds the temporary information that we use to finish a task. If our working memory is spent, our brain doesn’t have time to “sit back” and put information together. This, as a result, dulls our capabilities to think creatively.  

5. Increase anxiety and stress

When we multitask, our body and mind gets stuck in high alert mode. When we’re doing a lot of things at once, making even just one mistake can snowball into bigger problems and giving us more stress. Especially if we’re chasing the clock, we get anxious and stressed out when things don’t go the right way. And most of the time the reason things don’t go right is brought about by our multitasking.

6. It can affect memory

You may think that multitasking helps you handle your work in the present, but as you get older, things won’t be the same. When we stop doing something and immediately shift our focus to another, it can mess up our short-term memory. Think about walking while looking at your phone, for example. You’re obviously going to miss critical information about your surroundings while you’re on your phone.