The Myth of Multitasking

People like to multitask; Students especially. Even in a classroom, students listen to the professor lecture, talk to a friend next to them, instant message, and type notes. I just watch them multitask, and I’m distracted. The current generation of students has access to many distractions via the Internet that pull their attention in opposite directions.

However, something is being lost when a person’s attention is stretched in so many directions. Numerous studies have been conducted that result in evidence against the myth of being able to multitask. Our attention can only focus on one thing at a time, if we’re to do it well. Splitting attention up by multitasking creates a distraction, causing the item a person is currently focusing on to only receive a sliver of their focus.

I personally have never been able to multitask. If I am reading and someone asks me a question, my response usually includes the last few words I read. I cannot read and watch TV at the same time. My focus is pulled from the words on the page towards the sound. Even if I really try to focus on the book, my attention slowly shifts back to the screen and I completely forget what I just read. The TV wins, and the book is closed.

What’s the solution to multitasking? Don’t do it. Focus on one, maybe two things at a time. When your attention is spread over three or four things, your work on each individual item will suffer. Close the TV and the social media, and you’ll notice a lot of things that you missed the first time you read a book’s chapter.

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