In the age of smartphones and instant access to information, multitasking has become a regular part of our lives. We can play games, send text messages and surf the web while we eat or talk with another person. Multitasking is even a skill we boast about in our resume, proudly displaying it to future employers. But a study found that only 2.5 percent of people are able to multitask effectively. There are actually many dangers and risks with multitasking. Think about how many accidents occur from texting and driving.
The tendency to divide our attention hinders our ability to perform even simple tasks. Multitasking increases the chance of making mistakes and missing key information and cues. Studies show that multitasking even affects our health by increasing chronic stress, depression and social anxiety. Ultimately, the benefits we think are associated with multitasking -- productivity and efficiency -- are a myth.
We are actually most efficient when monotasking. Monotasking is consciously and completely focusing on the task at hand. Giving your full attention to what you are doing will help you do it better. Switching back and forth from various tasks promotes stress, fatigue and burnout.
Monotasking is something that needs to be practiced. It is an important ability and form of self-awareness. If your work, family or other responsibilities makes this difficult, a great place to start is with conversations you have throughout the day. Put your phone away, step away from the computer, turn to the person speaking and listen. Make a conscious effort and seek opportunities to practice monotasking to become the most productive and efficient version of yourself.
Written by: Christina Jung, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern