Written by Ayomide Eklu

 

Think you are a pro at multitasking?

Welp, hold that thought.

Multitasking is one big a** urban myth. Much recent neuroscience research has evidence to back up this claim. Our brain can definitely do many amazing things but juggling multiple things at a time is not its thing.

Yeah, I also disagreed with this whole thing initially. I mean, among other things, I could be reading and listening to music at the same time but science is saying the brain simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.

How?! Explain please.

Here’s the gist.

When switching from task to task, you think you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re actually not. The brain is forced to switch among multiple cognitive tasks as these tasks use the same part of the brain.

This makes sense right?

In fact, each time we move from hearing music to writing a text or talking to someone, there is a stop-start process that goes on in the brain. In psychology, it is known as “serial tasking,” not multitasking.

Best believe that start-stop-start process isn’t easy on us. You might think you’re saving yourself sometime but you’re less efficient, bound to make more mistakes and drained in the long run.

The University of Utah found out that there are a few people (about 2.5% of the population) who can do two things consciously at once without seeing any degradation in performance. They are called supertaskers. Superman is probably one of them.

So as much as you might feel like you have the ability to read your email, talk on the phone and reply your Twitter and Instagram DMs all at once, it’s literally impossible.

Minimising distractions and directing our attention on specific tasks or interactions can greatly improve our impact at work and in life.

You can also expand your attentive capacity through regular practices like;

1. Alternate nostril breathing
2. Meditation
3. Journaling
4. Spending time outdoors
5. Physical activity
6. Healthy and regular eating
7. Getting plenty of sleep