• Meg Josephson, LCSW

An Argument Against Multi-tasking


Who in NYC doesn’t “multitask”? If you know me, you know I am the Queen of multitasking. If I’m not at least three things at once, people think I’m coming down with something. While it would be overwhelming to some, and certainly a bit of a social turn off to others- I’ve always thought of my ability to multitask as one of the keys to my success.  Maybe I was wrong...⁣⁣

According to Arianna Huffington, “ Contrary to what many of you may think, not only is multitasking not very efficient, it doesn’t actually exist. It’s actually rapid task switching – instead of doing two things at once, we simply switch between doing two things badly. It’s one of the most stressful ways we can use our time, and it robs us of our capacity to notice and appreciate every moment of our lives.” I did a little research, and it seems Arianna is not alone in this. According to multiple sources, rapid task switching can reduce productivity by up to 40 percent. Only two percent of the population has the capacity to truly do it. And here’s the scary part – constant task switching can even damage your brain, resulting in less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, which controls cognitive and emotional control and empathy.⁣ ⁣⁣

Technology, and our obsession to remain connected to it, isn’t going anywhere. The only place to start is by taking small, actionable steps that allow us to reflect on how this way of living and working impacts us.⁣ ⁣⁣

✔️ Start with one hour a day of focusing on one thing at a time and see if you feel a difference. ⁣⁣

✔️Finish something before starting something new⁣⁣

✔️Have others hold you accountable- tell those around you that you’re working on this and ask them to gently remind you when they notice you reverting to multitasking (err- I mean rapid task switching)⁣⁣

✔️Use a calendar to schedule small blocks of time to devote to very specific tasks, kind of like making a study schedule during finals⁣. ⁣

Lastly, be patient (if you’re anything like me) you’ve been at this a while and it’s ingrained. It’s more than just recalibrating how you attack your to-do list, it’s essentially shifting how you approach life!