3 reasons you shouldn't try to multitask
You may think you’re getting more done, but you’re probably wrong.

By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer
 
As technology advances and employees try to juggle more than they’ve ever done before, multitasking is an easy habit to slip into for many people. But research consistently shows that multitasking isn’t as helpful as we might think.
 
Here are some reasons you shouldn’t try to multitask.

Multitasking makes you less productive
 
According to research summarized by the American Psychological Association, shifting between tasks can cost you up to 40 percent of productive time. You may feel like you’re getting more done, but you probably aren’t. You’re just getting it done in a different way — and probably not the best one.
 
“Paying attention to each task you do will make you more efficient,” says Paula Rizzo, founder of ListProducer.com and a productivity expert. “Instead of bouncing around from one thing to another, finish what you’re doing first.”
 
“When you are trying to listen to your voicemail while reading your email, or reading other materials during meetings, multitasking is working against you,” says Tamara Myels, a certified professional organizer and productivity consultant. “Instead, identify the priorities, the tasks — the important things you need to work on — and work on them one at a time. Time management isn’t about doing more things; it’s about doing more of the important things.”

Multitasking makes you less effective
 
Even if you’re getting things done while multitasking, chances are you aren’t getting them done as well as you could be. Using cellphones while driving is a common example: A study by the University of Utah found that talking on even a hands-free mobile phone while driving can cause impairment similar to driving with a .08 blood-alcohol level. The study found that when controlling for the difficulty of the drive and other factors, cellphone users may be even more impaired.
 
“Multitasking is the worst way to try and get lots of things done,” says Robby Slaughter, a productivity expert. “It's contrary to human psychology. We do best when we concentrate on one task at time. It's also insulting to the work (and the person who assigned it), because it indicates that task doesn't deserve our complete attention.

Multitasking can slow down your brain
 
If your brain is trying to manage several tasks at once, it may affect the way you work even when you’re attempting to complete a single task. A study by Stanford researchers found the brains of people who multitask work less efficiently even when they’re not multitasking.
 
To fight the urge to multitask, redirect your focus, Slaughter says. “Try maximizing your computer windows to hide distractions, putting on headphones (even with no music, just to communicate to others to leave you alone), turning off email pop-ups and setting your phone to do-not disturb. And when you really need to focus, leave your desk and head for a conference room.”

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