We’ve told you before that the more you multitask the worse you become at it. Well now, even more research is backing that up. According to LiveScience.com, researchers are finding that switching back and forth between tasks is so hard on our brains that it could cause premature burnout!
Here’s the deal: the reason we’re at the top of the food chain is that we have really big brains that we use to carry out complicated tasks, like reading. However, it turns out that our brains are not that good at rapidly switching between jobs. Dr. Joanne Cantor is the author of “Conquer Cyber Overload,” a book about boosting productivity in a digital age. She says our brains are always looking for new stuff, and digital devices capitalize on that instinct. Every time we hear a ding or a click our brain goes “What was that?!”
The problem is, studies show that constantly shifting our attention wears our brain out and our cognitive function goes down. Unlike most skills, multitasking doesn't get easier the more you do it. Three separate studies all found that people who frequently multitask fail at pretty much everything when they switch between tasks. They can’t filter out irrelevant information and focus on the stuff that’s really important. They also have a hard time retrieving information from their short term and long term memory, and they’re totally confused when they have to go on to the next task. In short. multi-taskers are really bad at multitasking. New studies show it could affect how well our brains function as we get older. There’s evidence that frequent multitaskers get more foggy-brained and less productive as they age.
So what’s the fix? It’s simple: complete one task before moving on to the next one; it’s much easier on your brain. If you’re feeling a little fried, take a break and go to a low-information environment. That doesn’t mean take a break and check your email. It means take a walk outside and get the blood flowing to your brain.