Sure, I can multitask. I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time. Then again, multitasking is known as the art of messing up several things at once. Is it really the ability to foul everything up simultaneously? What say you?
Don’t believe me? Research studies have concluded that multitasking is less effective than doing one task at a time. If you are inundated with electronics, you will actually recall information less and have more difficulty paying attention.
Here’s a little secret. We can truly only focus on one task at a time. Our brains are wired that way. Sure, you can sip your morning cuppa Joe while you check the daily weather report and even check your messages. Then again, less is more…unless it’s coffee. But suppose you need to do a chore that requires active attention, and there you are switching gears and bouncing back and forth on your trampoline.
If you want to carry out all those tasks to completion successfully, consider doing one thing at a time attentively. Then again, my idea of multitasking is using a knife and fork at the same time. How many things can you juggle at once? Sometimes doing two things at once is doing neither. Then again, y’all know what MOM stands for: Master Of Multitasking.
Interacting with devices all day long is most definitely the “new normal.” Studies indicate that this changes the way we think and even feel. MRI scans have shown changes in empathy and emotional regulation for those texting excessively, glued to devices, or watching endless TV.
Does that not want to make you start mono-tasking?
Suppose you’re working on mindfulness and having presence. Phone in hand and ear buds in at all times certainly keeps you “connected,” but connected to what? If you’re trying to cultivate a stress-free environment, that is clearly not the way. If you’re constantly switching gears, you cannot really get in the zone for either one.
If it’s time you’re trying to save, guess what? By jumping back and forth between tasks, it will most likely take you longer to complete either one. If you do a project, get in the groove and stay there. Did you know that when you talk on your phone while driving, it may actually take you longer to get where you’re going? Go figure.
There have even been studies showing higher heart rates for those of us with access to our email all day long. It’s as if we’re on high alert Not for nothing, but if you are walking while on your phone all day, you literally do not see what is right in front of you. Haven’t you been “almost” bumped into on the street countless times by something that looked human but was robotically attached to their device? Their surroundings, no matter how beautiful or even bizarre, do not even register in their brains.
It also interferes with your short-term memory. I don’t know about y’all but… I would write it down to help me remember, but there’s a good chance I’ll forget where I wrote it. Hey, do you know what I’m thinking…because I forgot. By the way, do those memory foam pillows even work? Ever feel like your brain just took a detour?
Most importantly, it is taking a huge toll on relationships. No one wants to be in the middle of a conversation with a loved one only to hear: “Hold on, I need to just check this message (or email). Ouch. Just having your phones nearby can cause interference and irritation. Having a meaningful or memorable talk? Toss your phone in the other room and give your friend or loved one your dedicated, devoted attention.
So, your favorite flavor of cake is “more”? I know: Love means never having to say, “Should we get dessert?” Of course, the only clubs you’re interested in are sandwiches. I get it, but she caught you munching in front of your screen again. Uh-oh. You may want to rethink that. You’re actually not allowing your brain to process just how much you ate while staring at your computer or device.
Implement the “OHIO” rule, sweet friends: Only Handle It Once. When a task comes up, handle it right away. Get it off your proverbial plate, and you’re done. Do one chore at a time, and free up your mind. Make that call; answer that email and schedule that needed appointment even if you dread it. Do it now.
How many computer tabs do you have opened right now? Please don’t set too many goals at one time and then frantically multitask to get them done. Yes, you’re wildly busy, but somehow got nothing done. Bet you have an app for every little thing in your life, too. Listening to the latest podcast, while checking Twitter and ordering food based on what will look best on Instagram. Oh my. You know what they say: Instagram is just Twitter for people who go outside.
Documenting every awkward moment of your life, too. Sheesh. When your text notification bell goes off, the reward-seeking center of your brain may light up, but once you’re distracted, the stress hormone cortisol is released. Please don’t be fooled, sweet friends.
You know our phones finally have cameras with decent megapixels, so now we use Instagram to blur all our photos. Do you also remember a time when you knew more than your phone?
Take a break from the digital lifestyle, please. The one thing you can’t multitask is “presence,” sweet friends.