Everybody talks about multitasking…the ability to do more than one thing at a time. The truth is our brains work sequentially and we can only successfully do one thing at a time. Believe it or not, multitasking is a myth. What we are really doing when we think we are multitasking is switch-tasking. We are quickly moving from one task to another at a high rate of speed. And when we do this, it causes more errors and takes us longer. To give you a better idea of switch-tasking and the impact it makes on your efficiency, try this exercise.

Multitasking is worse than a lie

M

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In the first row copy the phrase, multitasking is worse than a lie. For every letter you write in the M row, switch to the second row and write the corresponding number. (Example: M 1 u 2 l 3 t 4…) You will write one letter and then one number, till you complete the phrase.

Write down the total time it takes you to complete this:

Multitasking is worse than a lie

M

1

This time copy the entire phrase, multitasking is worse than a lie, in the box on top. Then in the box below write the numbers 1-27.

Write down the total time it takes you to complete this activity:

Compare the time it took you to complete the 1st try and the 2nd try. Typically, a person will take twice as long to complete this exercise when switching between the letters and the numbers.

How do you think trying to multitasking affects your life?

This activity adapted from

The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing It All Gets Nothing Done by Dave Crenshaw

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