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Negative Consequences of Multitasking

multitaskingHeather Hans

Do you remember the time when multitasking was all the rage and people actually prided themselves on being able to multitask? Well, a new study from the University of Washington found that multitasking has negative effects.  Duh!

Why?!?

Because, when we multitask we are not able to put our full attention on any one thing. Everything we do gets short changed.  Not only does the quality of what we’re doing suffer, but it leaves us feeling flighty, jittery, unfocused, and ungrounded.  If I’m sitting down eating, checking the internet, talking on the phone, writing something down…that’s sloppy.It is sloppy because I’m not focused.  I’m trying to do many different things at a time.  People don’t get more done that way.  What occurs is a half-baked job at everything that way.

Newer generations have it rough in this aspect, because we live in a world now where everything is on-demand, instant, we are expected to produce and perform and be in contact all the time, constantly.  This makes it very seductive to want to multitask, because we are expected to produce so much. When we do that we suffer and the quality of our work suffers. It is an art to be able to learn how to focus your mind and focus your attention for the task at hand.

When you are with your child, are you down on the floor playing with your child, not thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner or anything else but giving your child full attention?  If you were to do that for ten minutes verses spending an hour with your child while you are thinking of other things or trying to do other things at the same time, your child would benefit more. When you work, are you giving your work your full solid attention, or are you off here and there and doing different things on the computer and email?  If so, your work will suffer.  It is much better to spend a shorter amount of focused time than a longer period multitasking and not really accomplishing much.

People can sense energy.  We’re sensitive beings.  When you are not giving your full undivided attention to someone or something, it is felt.  Also, notice how you feel when you’re multitasking.  When you sit down to eat and do not do anything else except nourish yourself and focus on what you are eating and how it feels in your body, what does that do for you verses eating on the fly, eating while you’re driving, or eating at the computer.  There is a difference.

See if you can notice the times of day when you are more susceptible to multitasking and what is it that led up to that?  What kind of stress factors led you to feel the need to multitask, and what can you do right before it gets to that point, even if it’s just 2 minutes of quiet meditation where you close your eyes and breathe? Then make the decision to put your attention for the next 5 or 10 minutes into this activity only, and then move on to the next one.

 

Heather Hans, LCSW, MSW, MBA, CPIC, is a Visionary, Healer & Teacher, and the author of The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with Confidence. It is Heather's firm belief that loving oneself is necessary to have fulfilling relationships and a successful life. Her book is an ingredient list that teaches people the steps to self-love and radiance. The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with Confidence is available through AmazonBarnes&Noble, and booksellers world-wide. 

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