Why is multitasking bad

7 reasons multitasking is bad

Multitasking seems to be the ultimate goal of people who want to be as productive and efficient as possible.

However, this approach is fundamentally wrong. The opposite is the case.

Multitasking doesn't make you more productive, it makes you slower. It also has other disadvantages that can have a negative impact on your health and quality of life.

Take the following 7 reasons as a warning and set yourself the goal of always doing exactly one thing at a time, but with full commitment and focus. You will benefit from it through greater efficiency and satisfaction.

1. You lose focus

People are extremely bad at doing multiple things at the same time. Even if we always tell ourselves it's great.

If you're writing an article while watching TV, one of the two jobs will inevitably lose out. Either you have gaps in your memory regarding the plot of the film or you are writing total nonsense. Spelling mistakes and incomplete sentences are increasing.

In either case, you lose focus and may have to start over several times until the result is correct.

Incidentally, many people turn down the radio in their car in difficult traffic situations or in unfamiliar areas. In that moment they realize for themselves that their concentration is suffering from multitasking.

2. Multitasking increases the likelihood of errors

Losing focus also increases the risk of mistakes. This is particularly evident in people who make phone calls or text messages while driving. It is therefore forbidden to use a cell phone while driving.

There are studies that show that even voice control (Siri) distracts the driver and thus increases the risk of accidents.

But multitasking does not only affect the quality of our work in traffic. Even if we are regularly distracted by our e-mails or colleagues at work, the quality of our work decreases.

Therefore, there are also numerous approaches such as Getting Things Done, Inbox Zero and Pomodoro that can support us with single-tasking.

3. Multitasking makes you unproductive

Doing many tasks at the same time always feels like being ultra productive. But that is a purely subjective perception.

It's a bit like driving around a traffic jam and taking the longer route into account. There is no difference in time between the two routes. But because we are making progress, it feels better than being stuck in a traffic jam.

In addition, the loss of concentration and the reduction in quality further reduce productivity. Overall, studies show that multitasking does not increase productivity and that the quality of work decreases.

But multitasking doesn't just have a bad effect on the outcome of the task. Our health also suffers.

4. You are stressed.

Constant multitasking increases your stress level. You are constantly exposed to different stimuli at the same time, your brain has to process them somehow. This increases your cortisol level.

This means that the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood is increased. This can become chronic. A permanently high level of cortisol has a negative impact on health and can lead to autoimmune diseases, asthma or even cancer.

Therefore, it makes sense to reduce the stress you are exposed to as much as possible. A good place to start is moving from multitasking to single-tasking.

5. Your responsiveness drops

In the short term, the cortisol puts you on the alert and you are ready for the "fight". This is a relic from days gone by when we suddenly had to flee or fight when the saber-toothed tiger attacked us.

In order for this to work well, it makes a lot of sense that this hormone is only released in such a case, but not permanently.

Otherwise, a kind of habituation effect can occur that reduces the effectiveness of the cortisol. In the long term, this can lead to reduced responsiveness.

6. Your ability to concentrate decreases

On the one hand, the arguments for decreasing responsiveness also apply to concentration.

On the other hand, due to the constant change of context, we get used to only being half involved, since our brain always reserves a certain capacity for other tasks.

This makes it harder to concentrate, to be distracted faster and to forget things.

When I first tried the Pomodoro Technique, it was very difficult for me to work 25 minutes on a single task without the distraction. This was because I was used to reading emails, making phone calls, or listening to podcasts on the side.

7. You become unhappy

Overall, multitasking makes you less productive. In addition, you become more stressed, more distracted and can no longer concentrate on one thing at a time.

Everything you do, you do more casually and almost unconsciously. This will make you more miserable than going about your tasks consciously and individually.

Sometimes I see people running through the streets with smartphones. You are talking on the phone and reading something on your cell phone at the same time.

I suspect that very few people enjoy the fresh air and the sun. I suspect most of them won't even have noticed that it's a beautiful day.

The youth word of 2015 was “Smombie”. What is meant are people who, thanks to their smartphones, run through the streets like mindless zombies. This picture describes very well how multitasking detracts from the essential aspects of everyday life.

My conclusion

I used to be a "master" at doing many things at the same time. However, I noticed that it annoyed me and stressed me extremely.

Since then I have limited myself to one thing at a time. If I want to watch TV, then I watch TV. If I want to read something on my smartphone, I do. But I don't do both at the same time.

But there are also exceptions:

When I run or go for a walk, I also like to listen to a podcast because it makes me think. However, running and walking are not cognitively demanding tasks either.

At work, I also like to listen to music to escape the noises of the open-plan office. However, I make sure that the music stays discreetly in the background and neither distracts me nor pushes me too much.

Overall, I am always surprised at how much faster I can complete tasks when I am at it with full concentration and without distraction.

How do you feel about multitasking?

Are youFor oragainst Multitasking and why?

Tobias, 30, is a financial blogger, software developer, digital nomad, entrepreneur and winter refugee. On his blog he writes about his personal development, his travels and the relationship to finances. It inspires tens of thousands of readers every month and gives them the basics they need to take their finances into their own hands.