I have to share this with you, because when I read it, it completely blew my mind.
Have you ever …
- Attended a virtual meeting while you scrolled your phone for the latest headlines (or, ahem, checked your social media notifications)?
- Juggled two work projects at the exact same time because you thought you could do them in half the time?
- Listened to a training/course/book while folding the laundry, cooking a meal, and/or caring for a family member?
- Checked your email or phone several times in the middle of a project?
It might seem like you’re streamlining your to-do list by tackling several things at once, but you can actually be cluttering your brain. This can lead to more mistakes, retaining less info, and actually changing how your brain works (not for the better). In fact, multitasking on projects that require a lot of thought can make your IQ score dip the same way it does for people who stay up all night!
Check this out: in one study, men who multitasked had their IQ drop 15 points so that their score was the same as an average 8-year-old child.
This happens because of the way our brains function, according to researchers from the University of Southern California. When you need to pay attention to something, your brain’s prefrontal cortex springs to action. It keeps your brain focused on a single goal while also working with other parts of your brain to help you finish the task. And when you work on one task at a time, both sides of the prefrontal cortex work together in beautiful harmony.
BUT… if you try to focus on TWO TASKS at a time, the left and right sides each do their own thing. You can see how this would make it hard for your brain to FOCUS, making it even harder to pay attention to the details and retain more info. Plus, researchers say it can cause THREE TIMES as many mistakes!
So, what is the solution? It works like a charm and it also cuts down on stress – more on that in a sec.
The tip: Set a timer for 15-30 minutes and FOCUS ON ONE TASK. Then, take a mini 5-10 minute “intermission” break, and set the timer again for another period of focus.
BONUS BENEFIT ALERT… people who felt stressed while multitasking ate more unhealthy snacks, according to researchers. This isn’t surprising, since stress is linked to food cravings!
Just something to think about. 🙂
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