By Foteini Lioliou,
First things first, multitasking is the act of doing more than one thing simultaneously. A striking example of multitasking is watching TV while doing your homework. Actually, many people claim that studying is easier or more effective when the TV or radio is on. The main reason why they view studying as a lot less difficult in this way is that their brain is multitasking. When you use your brain to do two things at the same time, you are essentially forcing the brain to focus on two things. Yet the question here is how you can concentrate on two things simultaneously and still manage to succeed in both.
The answer is that you do not always succeed because your mind is trying to pay attention to two things instead of one and therefore it often fails to pay the same amount of attention to each. For example, if you are listening to music while studying you may concentrate on the lyrics of the song and not the study material. Thus, you end up doing only the one thing that you have started to do, instead of both. Of course, there are cases of people who had great control of themselves and dealt with both studying and listening to music at the same time. However, these cases are really rare and nowadays people find it difficult to cope with a lot of things together.
There is this false belief that people who do two actions at the same time are smarter than others. Well, this is, in fact, inaccurate since intelligence is not measured on the basis of multitasking. Multitaskers are actually people who are not thinking straight and they believe that doing two activities simultaneously will help them save time. It is an undeniable fact that watching the news on the TV while cooking is time–saving. Nonetheless, there is a high possibility of messing up your work while doing the second activity. Here, in this example, burning your food or not putting a necessary ingredient in it is quite probable. Multitasking has proven to be the worst medicine for memory since people’s memory is slowly fading away and they forget a lot more than they used to before. Apart from being forgetful, you start becoming less productive and more stressed. Your anxiety is increased as you have to perform many activities all at once and excel in all of them.
Even though multitasking is not exactly effective, it is sometimes very beneficial. There are activities such as football that require multitasking. Specifically, football is a sport that requires both action and critical thinking. The football player is not only running up and down to catch the ball but he is also thinking of how to stop his opponent from scoring. In this case, multitasking benefits not only the player but also the team. The football player must combine action and thought so as to be able to score and let his team win.
Overall, multitasking can be performed sometimes but not on a daily basis because it harms the memory and thus the brain. What I mean is that the brain cannot simply focus on many things together and it is preferable to perform only one activity each time. Otherwise, it is possible to lose control attempting to do numerous things simultaneously. Next time you are considering doing a couple of things together, try to remember that it is not the best idea.
- Τι είναι το multitasking;, taxidromos.gr, Available here
- Multitasking: Switching costs, apa.org, Available here