Too many self-proclaimed experts
preach that you need to be a master multi-tasker in today’s fast
They’re dead wrong.
A 2001 University of Michigan study found that the higher
functioning part of the brain that sequences thinking and acting
can only focus on one thing at a time.
In reality, multi-tasking is not doing ten things at once. It's
toggling back and forth between a number of tasks before
completing the prior one.
In a 2006 UCLA study, researchers ran MRI scans on volunteers
while they performed a single task, and while they performed
multiple tasks simultaneously.
They found that when people multi-tasked, they used "Procedural
Memory". When they performed a single task, they used
"Declarative Memory", which is more reliable.
But you don’t have to be a scientist to see the problems
Multi-Tasking is causing, or how it’s gotten dramatically worse
in the last 15 years.
In 1999, the first Blackberry was released.
It was a pager that allowed people to get email before
smartphones took off. It became known as “CrackBerry” because
people got so addicted that they couldn't unplug. They
constantly had a cell phone in one hand and BlackBerry in the
About the same time, texting took off.
In 2000, the average American sent 35 texts per month.
By 2007, the average American sent and received more text
messages than phone calls. (This marked the beginning of more
than a few bad habits – such as not returning phone calls and a
sharp decline in social skills and professionalism.)
In 2011, Pew Research reported that young adults sent and
received over 3,000 texts per month.
And then there was the explosion of Social Media.
In 2006, Facebook first became available to the general public,
followed by others like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and
whatever the latest Flavor of the Month was.
Then came “selfies”.
In 2013, the Oxford Dictionary noted a 17,000% increase in the
use of the
word “selfie” and named it Word of the Year.
In one week in 2013, it was mentioned in over 368,000 Facebook
posts, in the hashtag of more than 150,000 Tweets, and
Instagram had over 53 million photos with “selfie” in the
Technology changes so fast that no one can predict what’s going
to last (remember MySpace?).
But no matter what technology we’re using tomorrow, you'll still be better off doing one thing at a time.
To Your Success,
P.S. All of these distractions can also hurt
marriages. If you’re concerned they may be affecting yours, I
highly recommend “Married to Distraction: Restoring Intimacy and
Strengthening Your Marriage in an Age of Interruption” by Drs.
Edward Hallowell and John Ratey.
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