Much has been said about the benefits of multitasking, often in jibes, sometimes in all earnestness. But the truth is that constant division of focus on several tasks can lead to a severe drop in productivity over time. While this has been the theory of some of the most efficient leaders, neuroscientists now have proof that multitasking has seriously adverse affects on your brain. A constant barrage of stimulation may not allow you to completely recover from the fatigue of daily life and cause irreparable damage to your work-life balance. Still not convinced? Here are some of the effects of continuous multitasking on your productivity and work-life balance.
Loss of focus
Some professionals take immense pride in their ability to multitask like talking on the phone while writing an email and sending out a meeting reminder at the same time. But in effect, what you’re really doing is not paying enough attention to any one of those tasks.
Too many things on your mind at the same time don’t allow you to concentrate on any one of them, as a result you end up taking more time to finish all of those tasks as your thought process keeps getting disrupted.
Impact on memory
When you multitask, you run the risk of overworking your brain. Constant interruptions during a project, for example, that requires your undivided attention to ensure error free results can get hampered as a result. Too much information can affect your memory negatively by not allowing your brain to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information. A study conducted by Prof. Clifford Nass in 2009 shows that multitaskers are easily distracted by unimportant information that negatively impacts the quality of their work.
Higher stress levels
Trying to squeeze too many tasks into your workday increases your stress levels that can lead to anxiety and burnouts among employees. Both these things have a severely negative impact on the productivity and profitability of a business, especially the smaller ones with fewer employees.
Frequent burnouts can reduce overall employee morale and increase attrition, or even worse.
Possibility of permanent damage
Some of the latest research on the issue suggests that if not checked in time, the damage caused by multitasking to the cognitive function of your brain could be permanent. So, while you think that multitasking allows you to get the maximum output from your day, it could actually be making you a worse performer at work with each passing day.
Many organizations require applicants to be excellent multitaskers, and many applicants add multitasking as a key skill in their resumés. But the truth is that multitasking is not a skill, it is a negative habit that we need to put an end to immediately. Maintain a schedule to check your emails, social networks, phone calls that you can schedule, or turn away from your computer when receiving an important but unscheduled call. And while you do that, remember that you are doing it to ensure your own productivity remains unaffected, because every time you multitask, you are not only reducing your performance, but also causing irreparable damage to your brain.