Why you need to stop mul­ti­task­ing!

While fran­tic jug­gling can feel like a badge of hon­our for busy women, learn­ing to fo­cus on one job at a time will make you more pro­duc­tive, says sharon Walker

Woman & Home - - Editor’s Letter -

ditch the jug­gling, be more pro­duc­tive

We women pride our­selves on our abil­ity to jug­gle.

It’s what we do. We’ve honed our mul­ti­task­ing mus­cles through years, if not decades, of keep­ing all those balls in the air. When was the last time you cooked din­ner with­out break­ing off to check on your chil­dren’s home­work? Even when we’re re­lax­ing with an episode of our favourite TV show we use this mo­ment of down­time to catch up on so­cial me­dia. It’s all wa­ter off a duck’s back to us, this con­stant flip­ping back and forth. But at what cost?

We’ve been led to be­lieve that jug­gling is the most ef­fi­cient – if not only – way to man­age the mul­ti­ple strands of our lives. But ex­perts are now claim­ing that, far from be­ing the ul­ti­mate weapon in the arse­nal of the over­stretched, mul­ti­task­ing is not only adding to our anx­i­ety but is ac­tu­ally mak­ing us less ef­fi­cient. “Mul­ti­task­ing is ex­haust­ing,” says psy­chol­o­gist Tony Crabbe. “In re­al­ity we’re not do­ing sev­eral things at once, but switch­ing rapidly be­tween tasks, which uses up brain­power. When we race from task to task we don’t do things as well, or ef­fi­ciently.” This is backed by re­search by Michi­gan Univer­sity, which sug­gests that jump­ing be­tween just two tasks in­creases the time it takes to com­plete both by 40%. re­searchers at Stan­ford Univer­sity com­pared peo­ple who mul­ti­tasked a lot to those who fin­ished tasks one af­ter the other. The re­sult? The heavy mul­ti­taskers were more eas­ily dis­tracted.

So how else should we man­age this con­stant need to be “on”?

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