A Case for Unitasking

July 15, 2013

picnic

You're texting while you finish your last few Chile Limon Potato Chips and wipe the kitchen counters, aren't you? Back away from the counters, sit yourself down and ponder this: there is a time and place for multitasking and we salute your skill. But according to a recent study from the University of Utah, frequent multitaskers are, ahem, bad at it.

"The people who are most likely to multitask harbor the illusion they are better than average at it, when in fact, they are no better than average and often worse" says David Strayer, University of Utah Psychology Professor.

Turns out, people who score high on the ability to multitask tend not to do it because they prefer to and are better able to focus on the task at hand.

And how does multitasking affect you mentally? Does it ratchet up the stress or keep you sharp? Most experts agree, a little bit goes a long way. And chronic multitasking can lead to negative feelings and consequences.

According to Margaret Moore, co-author of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life, "The brain is not designed to multitask or multi-focus, which means it is less effective at being productive, creative and strategic. This lower level of brain functioning leads to distraction [causing] negative stress because tasks aren't accomplished or are not done well. Negative emotions trigger physiological stress, including increased heart rate and blood pressure…."

We think this is a perfect reminder, especially smack in the center of summer. Take it easy. Focus on one thing at a time and knock it out of the park. Rediscover the beauty of unitasking (we made that up) or antitasking and just enjoy the moment.

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