As humans, we are always distracted to multitask. This comes in the form of responding to emails, toggling between multiple tabs on a browser, text messaging, scrolling through social media feeds among others, all at the expense of interfering with important tasks. According to reports from neuroscientists, our brains are not built to do more than one task at once. When we try to multitask, we simply damage our brains in ways that have an adverse effect on our well-being as well as productivity and mental performance.
Here are practical reasons and ways in which multitasking is killing your brain and hindering your productivity.
Multitasking can lead to brain damage
According to a study conducted from the University of Sussex, it aimed at comparing brain structure of participants who spend a greater deal of their time multitasking on important tasks as well as juggling between media devices. The MRI scans showed that participants heavily involved in multitasking has less brain density in their cortex.
Reduction of Efficiency and Mental Performance
Neuroscientists at MIT were conducting a study on attention and learning. The research found out that multitasking ruins productivity impedes creative thought and makes people cause mistakes. As humans, biology shows that we have a very limited capacity to handle simultaneous thought process. This means we can only handle a little bit of information in the mind at any given time.
Multitasking reduces focus and concentration
Research shows that multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction kind of feedback loop. This means that it rewards the brain for losing focus as it constantly searches for external stimulation. The same region of the brain that is needed for focus is easily distracted. Each time we multitask, we are simply teaching the brain to lose focus and get distracted.
Multitasking creates anxiety and stress
Various articles have shown that doing many tasks at once increases the production of cortisol, which is the brain hormone associated with stress. Once we are stressed, we get mentally fatigued as anxiety builds up. This also leads to stress building up creating a vicious cycle of constant stress and anxiety. You need to note that multitasking activities are equally stressful.
Multitasking kills creativity
Neuroscientists show how multitasking hinders creativity and innovation. Innovative thinking only comes from an extended concentration. When you try to concentrate, you do not get far successful with the process if you are multitasking. You are simply diluting the creative juice when you switch between tasks. Any thought ideas that might have crossed your mind are very likely to pass you by.
Multitasking can reduce emotional intelligence
According to an extensive research conducted by Travis Bradberry, he points out that emotional intelligence is a common trait among the top performers in any field. This study shows that multitasking could damage the cortex part of the brain that is responsible for emotional intelligence. You should not that multitasking equally causes overwhelm and burnout. Multitasking also hurts sound decision-making skills. When you constantly switch between tasks, the willpower muscle gets depleted. This leads to a buildup of decision fatigue leading to deteriorated decision making.