Multitasking harms us: 5 tips what we can do about it

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The temptation of multitasking lurks everywhere: The inbox flashes, the social media channels want to be watched and everything is more exciting than the report, on which we are writing. So we jumped from one task to another and did in the evening but only half done - because we were with the IQ of an 8-year-old.Multitasking harms us: 5 tips what we can do about it Gesundheitsrisiko_Multitasking

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Guido da Silva is an expert in labor management processes at software company Wrike.


The disadvantages are serious

Multitasking does not necessarily mean that you do things at the same time, even if you are dealing with them quickly one after the other or with one another, there are negative effects. When driving, it is instantly noticeable that our concentration decreases when we drive, telephone and parallel to the water bottle.

The same is true of our brains when we meet in the meeting eMail write or constantly check our inbox while we are working on a presentation. How serious the effects of the daily mental balancing act are, two studies prove:

  1. A study of the University of London has shown that multitasking in the office has similar effects on the concentration, like marijuana to smoke or a night not to sleep. Especially in men, multitasking reduces the IQ by up to 15 points - this corresponds approximately to the mental performance of an 8-year-old.
  2. Investigations by Dr. David Meyer have shown that it costs us up to 40% of our productive time when we jump from task to task rather than successively.

Our brain - not made for multitasking

However, in our society, too little is questioned about multitasking. Neuroscience research shows that the human mind is not made for multitasking. He can not handle many things in parallel. Multitasking definitely reduces performance.

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It is also fatal that the brain becomes accustomed to the permanent stress associated with completing various tasks at the same time. If the multitasking has become a habit, it is very difficult to switch back to a hibernation.

Why are we still addicted to multitasking?

Quite simply because it feels good to pursue new stimuli. Our brain is happy about distraction and new impressions. Often these distractions give us a quick sense of happiness: one eMail in the inbox tells us to be important; if we make the pending call immediately, we have ticked off a point in minutes that we can delete from our to-do list.

Happiness! As the lengthy presentation for the management can not keep up. Multitasking also surrounds us with an aura of stress and activity. This may seem more impressive from the outside on colleagues than to tackle one task at a time.

5 Tips: Cheat the multitasking

  1. Whoever is aware of the situations in which he or she is easily distracted, can mitigate the negative effects of multitasking. For example, by setting fixed dates, where you can deliberately allow distractions, while keeping the inbox locked in other time windows.
  2. You should also ask, what do I need this eMail flood for and why do I have to constantly move in the social media platforms? Do I feel alone when I am not interacting on the net and receiving no mails or text messages? Even a day without internet can lead to many people to social withdrawal symptoms.
  3. It is important to set priorities in your work and to choose what I record and what I do not. It's like leafing through a magazine, everyone Article to briefly skim over and then consciously decide what to read.
  4. Take an inventory! Which communication channels do I use - telephone, eMail, twitter, facebook? How can I intelligently filter the flood of information that is collapsing on me? Nowadays, individual information management has become very important in the work process - it is about controlling the media mix, which is different for everyone, and not allowing it to be flooded, but specifically selecting the information that you need.
  5. Difficult tasks should be done consciously with high concentration. The small pleasures of multitasking are treated to routine tasks. With practice, you can recover the 40% of your time lost through multitasking - and can also work with full mental capacity rather than just being hard-pressed. Just try!

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