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Aug 01 2018
Myth or Fact - The Truth About Multitasking
Jo Anne Mills, CCE, Deseret Book Co.

I attended Credit Congress in Phoenix in June and had the opportunity to go to several amazing classes. One of the most interesting things I heard during this week was just a side note in a larger presentation. It was a statement about multitasking.

In this day and age, we hear the term all the time. I have even seen it in job descriptions: Must be able to multitask. The interesting piece of information that I heard is that multitasking is a myth. I have thought myself to be a very effective multitasker, so this idea was confusing to me. I decided to do some research.

In reviewing information from a number of different sources the overwhelming conclusion is that the human brain is unable to handle several tasks simultaneously. We aren't really doing two or three things at once. We are really switching from one task to another quickly and repeatedly. This will often make us feel as if we are getting more done, but scientific research shows that the opposite is true.

Numerous studies have shown that when switching between multiple tasks it takes time for your brain to refocus every time you move your attention. This may only be a fraction of a second but can add up quickly. Also, the time it takes to refocus is longer with more complex tasks.

Other consequences of multitasking include increased error rates, higher stress levels, decreased creativity, and disruption of short term memory, just to name a few.

Multitasking may give us a feeling of accomplishing more; however, the best results will be achieved when focusing on one task at a time.