Why Multitasking is Less Productive

Multitasking. It seems great. Get more done in less time, isn’t that what we all want?

However, this word, multitasking, is actually a very dangerous thing and will likely make you less productive. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to truly multitask.

...Multitasking, is actually a very dangerous thing and will likely make you less productive. Click To Tweet

The definition of multitasking is pretty simple: dealing with more than one task at a time.

Sounds like something possible, but is it really? Did you ever try to rub your belly, while patting your head as a child? Was it easy? Could you accomplish this for very long before you messed it up?

From – The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results

For most, it’s very difficult and it makes the simple point that multitasking is hard. If we cannot focus well enough to pat our head while rubbing our belly, how can be possibly multitask?

Now, it is possible to have something running while you’re doing something else. For example, I was just updating Java (seems like this is daily anymore) while writing this article. This seems like multitasking, but I am not really updating java. I pressed a button and moved on.

Truly doing two things as once isn’t something humans are very capable of. We need to be laser focused on one thing at a time and multitasking actually makes you less productive.

Many people feel they must multitask because everybody else is multitasking, but this is partly because they are all interrupting each other so much. – Marilyn vos Savant

Multitasking Causing Busyness Not Productivity

We love to be, appear and feel busy. It makes us feel important and interrupting something personal for something related to work has become a normal, acceptable thing. Did you know that the word “multitasking” didn’t even exist before 1965? What in the world did they ever do without it?

I bet they lived in the moment more, enjoyed nature more, worked less and spent more time with family and friends. Doesn’t that sound great? Would you like that type of life? Most of us would.

Somehow, this word that should never have entered our vocabulary, except as to describe when a computer is performing more than one operation at a time, has become a positive thing in the business world. It’s far from positive and it’s one of the most negative things you can try to do.

From – It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life

Multitasking just causes the appearance of being busy without really getting much of anything done. It can wear you out faster, make your memory worse and cause issues with decision making. This was all shown in a study from 2014, which proved multitasking has a negative effect on the gray matter of the brain.

The study had to do with consuming multiple forms of media at once. This could be watching TV while reading an article on your phone or watching a video on your phone. It could also be doing work in front of the TV. You may love how it feels to do more than one thing at a time, but your brain simply cannot keep up.

Another study found on the American Psychological Association’s website, shows that our brains are not meant for multitasking. The study actually stated:

“Doing more than one task at a time, especially more than one complex task, takes a toll on productivity.”

Think about it for a moment. When you’re on the phone, can you check email, watch the baby or do anything else without missing what the person on the line is saying. Driving while on the phone has actually led to accidents and has become a thing now labeled as “distracted driving”.

When you try to multitask and one of those tasks is a conversation, you lose the ability to listen. This can make you look bad and can hurt relationships as you’re not listening during a conversation because you’re doing something else. We simply cannot multitask and function well in life at all.

Multitasking Causes Stress

Stress has been linked in many studies to the top six killers in the United States including heart disease, increased blood pressure, kidney disease and even cancer.

Multitasking has been proven to increase stress, which could mean we are shortening our life by trying to multitask. When you try to do too much at once, your brain simply cannot handle it.

When you try to do too much at once, your brain simply cannot handle it. Click To Tweet

Why we Try to Multitask?

Most of us have tried to multitask to get more done in less time. While this may seem like it’s saving us time, it’s really costing us time. Multiple studies have shown that multitasking actually costs us time instead of saving it.


A study from Stanford University showed that those engaging in multitasking are actually less productive than those concentrating on one task at a time. This same study also showed that people bombarded with multiple forms of electronic information simply cannot pay attention and cannot recall the information later.

Another study showed that even creating short mental blocks from shifting your focus can cost you as much as 40% of your productive time.

Only about 2% of the world’s population can actually multitask and be good at it, according to an article from The New Yorker. You’re likely not one of those people and neither am I. More likely, we are hurting ourselves and getting less done by attempting to multitask.

Why it’s Time to Put Multitasking in the Past

We don't need more stressed out zombies walking planet earth. Click To Tweet

We don’t need more stressed out zombies walking planet earth. We have our share already and you don’t need to join the ranks. Instead, it’s time to ditch multitasking and get back to living a full, happy life. Do you feel happier when you’re stressed out and overwhelmed?

From – What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done

Instead of multitasking, let’s start to practice new habits. Work on one task with laser focus at a time, turn off your phone, shut down social media, close your email and see how much more productive you become. Shut out all the interruptions and work with laser focus on one task as a time. You’ll likely increase your productivity tenfold.

You don’t need to justify your reasons for giving up multitasking, either. Just do it. Stop looking at your phone during conversations. Stop watching TV while playing a game on your phone, or stop watching TV altogether. Let the craziness of multitasking and our very busy, busy, busy world go and become a new you.

It’s time to flourish in this lifetime before it has passed us by. Multitasking is less productive and hurts your health, your stress level and your relationships. Put it to bed and make a commitment to stop doing more than one thing at a time. Ditching multitasking can truly change your life, if you let it.

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