Six disadvantages and three false myths of multitasking

In a world where everything is going very fast, everything seems urgent and we are expected to react quickly to things, multitasking has ended up being imposed: it is about performing several tasks at once, such as, for example, talking on the phone while writing an email, or the classic of eating while we work.

Sometimes it can even be seen as a positive value to have the ability to solve several issues at once. However, experts warn that, on a psychological level, the consequences of multitasking can manifest themselves in the form of anxiety, irritability, a feeling of a lot of external demand for guilt, or “overwhelm”. And it is that performing our functions in multitasking mode may not be the most successful method of executing a job.

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The psychologists of feel, a holistic psychological support platform for individuals and companies, list six disadvantages of the also known as “multitasking”.

1. Emotional discomfort: Simultaneously handling more competing stimuli increases “system overload,” i.e., stress. On a psychological level, this can manifest itself in the form of anxiety, irritability, feeling of a lot of external demand or abuse, guilt, or “overwhelm”.

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2. Increased chances of error. Proponents of the thesis that being able to attend to many issues at once is good on its own tend to forget the most treacherous disadvantage of multitasking: that it increases the likelihood of error.

3. Slow change. The number one advantage of multitasking is very simple: we are moving forward in several things at once. But with multitasking increases the slowness to finish each of the tasks we have started, while if we dedicate ourselves to only one thing we will finish it sooner.

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4. Saturation. This sensation leads to a poor ability to concentrate, remember, keep your attention on a single stimulus for a while. That’s why it’s important to examine what your work dynamic is like and see if it’s characterized by very intense multitasking.

5. Lack of courage. If they are not very careful, deep, or elaborate tasks, attending to them all at once is a good method. However, if they are important, they require thinking, deepening, going further, so it is not a good idea not to devote all our attention to each of them.

6. Consider your commitment. Taking care of several things at once without it being necessary to do so indicates a certain lack of commitment to each of the tasks. Try to look at it from this point of view, especially with those issues that are most important, and dedicate yourself to them with real involvement: the secondary can wait.

On the other hand, there are also several myths about multitasking. We review the three main ones.

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1. It is something typical of women

One of the most common myths is that multitasking is something “characteristic” of women.

Actually, neither multitasking is good on its own nor is it something typical of women’s brains. Unless we have a serious health problem that prevents us, all human beings are capable of doing several things at once.

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2. Not a trait of higher intelligence

A high capacity for multitasking, that is, to process information in parallel, does not in itself make you someone smarter, more valid professionally, or more capable.

3. It is so and cannot be changed

Like almost everything in this life, one of the keys is in training. Stop thinking that this is the way things are and train your capacity for serial operation. Perhaps mindfulness, which is about focusing on one thing at a time, can help.

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