Multitasking is slowing you down

Several research reports, both recently published and not yet published, provide evidence of the limits of multitasking. The findings, according to neuroscientists, psychologists and management professors, suggest that many people would be wise to curb their multitasking behavior when working in an office, studying or driving a car.

These experts have some basic advice. Check e-mail messages once an hour, at most. Listening to soothing background music while studying may improve concentration. But other distractions — most songs with lyrics, instant messaging, television shows — hamper performance. Driving while talking on a cellphone, even with a hands-free headset, is a bad idea. (…)

The human brain, with its hundred billion neurons and hundreds of trillions of synaptic connections, is a cognitive powerhouse in many ways. “But a core limitation is an inability to concentrate on two things at once.”

from NYT

See also The myth of multitasking

2 thoughts on “Multitasking is slowing you down

  1. Experience and focus. Or ability and importance of focus developed over time (experience); experience being learning over time rather than the mere passing of time.

  2. My complaints with mulitasking has been purported to be generational by my younger co-workers (old man). However at the end of the month our levels of production are relatively the same. The quality on the other hand is quite different. Is that due to more experience? I would tend to attribute it to focusing on no more than 2 projects at a time. Yes, other pots may be on the stove, but they are just simmering.

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