From switching through countless emails for work, juggling kids homework and activities to deciding what to cook for dinner; these days women are multitasking at a furious pace. Yet as HEALTH investigates, this chronic multi-tasking can take a toll on our health and actually makes us less productive….
Think that your super human ability to juggle several tasks at once is making you more productive? Cyntha Gonzalez, Human Relations Coach in Knowledge Village, Dubai points out that multi-tasking is juggling several tasks at a time or termed task-switching since multi-tasking in any precise moment is impossible. “Given women’s ability to handle childcare, household tasks, the family social life and work a job, women are reputed for being better at task-switching,” she says. “In fact, a study reported in Science magazine reports women outshone men on the planning and strategy component of multitasking.”
Why Women Shine
Women, tells Gonzalez, are good at multi-tasking as they are primal caregivers, wanting to take care of everything for the survival of the species. “Also women often imbue the tendency of being people pleasers and rescuers which leads to feeling pressured to multi-task,” she says.
The Top 6 Reasons That Multi-Tasking is bad:
- It takes longer to finish two tasks when going back and forth than when done separately according to a 2008 University of Utah study.
- Switching between tasks leads to mistakes and may cause forty percent loss of productivity according to the American Psychological Association.
- Higher stress comes with being on high alert in juggling so many tasks. The consequences of multitasking, for example, the mistakes that come with this, may be stress inducing.
- It can cause overeating given that when one eats and engages in another task, it leads to not listening to the cues that one’s tummy is full.
- It dampens creativity. The spontaneity and daydreaming essential to the creative function is overridden by deliberate, focused task switching that keeps the person on a more doing level rather than a receptive, open level.
- It is dangerous. Texting or speaking on a cell phone is as dangerous as drunk driving. Being hit by a car while walking and texting is far too common.
Take Action and Stop Multi-Tasking Now!
We are more productive when doing a task in batches like emails all at once, cooking food or paying bills.
- The Ah-ha’s and inspiration that come with fully immersing in a task bring joy and satisfaction and are worth it.
- Leave the mobile phone on silent when in a conversation with another.
- Chewing our food 25 times before swallowing allows us to be fully present for the food we eat and for when we have had enough. It is suggested to place the phone on silence and wait to check it until after eating.
- Set limits in being interrupted via phone or in person so to be fully present and more efficient for the required task. Afterwards there will be the opportunity to be fully present for that person and a more satisfying connection will result.