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Multitasking
is a myth and is nothing more than switching between tasks at a fast pace that
is encouraged by businesses trying to make the workplace more effective. Many
studies have shown that multitasking leads to a decrease in focus and IQ, an
increase of stress, higher cost for businesses, and even can have long-lasting
damage to the brain. Multitasking should be avoided as much as possible and
businesses should take careful measures to stop this issue to prevent wearing
out the brain and body. 

 Productivity is killed by multitasking,
whether it be a huge project, a report, or doing the laundry. If establishments
move to stop or lessen multitasking, they can make a more well-organized
environment. With the decrease of multitasking, managers will be able to focus
more of their time on other areas that need improvement. Organizations will,
therefore, be able to gain a substantial competitive advantage. Businesses should try to
stop multitasking in the workplace. Employees today are bombarded with so many
tasks that they eventually become inefficient. When given so many projects to
finish, people are compelled to multitask because of their workload that keeps
piling up. Companies should
remind the managers to only give employees a manageable workload or only one
project at a time. If they did this, they would find their employees to be more
productive. Also, employees should be encouraged to take breaks away from their
workspace. If they take their break say at their desk, then they will be more
tempted to use the phone or send emails, when they should be relaxing their
mind. Managers should also teach their employees with time management skills.
Many employees do not have any time management skills and therefore lose a lot
of valuable time. They often make up their lost time with quick multitasking,
which leads to low quality work. Overall, having a more organized and relaxed
employee will create a more productive business.

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It is not
easy to break the habit of multitasking because it is so deeply stitched into
our daily lives. It is a habit that one needs to break, just like biting your
nails or swearing, it will be difficult to terminate. Nevertheless, there are
some effective resolutions to stop this matter. One way to learn to prioritize
and accomplish one task at a time is to make a list. Making a list can help people
perform without having the stress of getting a project done on time or missing
any items. A list can also help prevent any unnecessary disruptions that you
may have had before without planning out your day. For instance, with a list,
one will not stop to check their phone or eat because they have the day planned
out for each activity. Furthermore, people should remove all distractions like
the internet. Studies show that an average person touches their phone two
thousand six hundred and seventeen times a day (Business Insider). This is the
equivalent of about one hundred and eighty minutes each day, which does not
even include the computer or television.  If you take control over your access to the
internet, like your phone, computer, iPad, etc., then you will find that you
become more efficient throughout the day.

Some may
also argue that the brain’s ability to simultaneously do two things at once
does exist. For example, some people can rub their stomach and pat their head
at the same time. Yes, with practice, this is attainable. This is possible because
procedural memory, which is what stores all our information on how to
perform tasks, is used to rub your stomach and pat your head. Procedural memory
involves muscle memory, and the brain tries to create as much muscle memory as possible,
so we can involuntarily perform tasks that we use a lot. This proves why we are
able to talk and walk or text and walk at the same time. We do not have to
voluntary think about how we must keep breathing and move our legs and mouth to
walk and speak.

Many
believe that multitasking allows progress of work and helps move several
assignments toward a single deadline. If you ask someone why they multitask,
they will likely respond “because it gets all my work done faster.” Facetiously,
it has been confirmed many times that it has the opposite effect. Every time
that you change activities it takes time to get back on track. “Experts
estimated that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss of productivity.
After an interruption, whether it’s a text message or to go to the bathroom, it
can take up to five minutes to concentrate.” (Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D.) Contrary
to popular belief, only doing one thing at a time will take you less total time
than splitting your work into groups.

            Researchers
believed for the longest time that multitasking only had temporary effects on
the brain, but recent findings say otherwise. The University of Sussex recently
completed another experiment on multitasking, but this time they looked at the
long-term effects. They took several volunteers and took an original MRI scan
of their brain, then they had them perform several tasks at once. They found
that those who multitasked often had less brain mass in the anterior cortex
than those who rarely did more than one activity at once. Although this
negative damage to the brain is slow to happen, it still has a harmful effect
over time that cannot be healed.

            Research
also shows that multitasking can actually lower one’s IQ. A recent study by the
University of London discovered a reduction in IQ scores for people who
multitask during mental activities. This deterioration was found to be very
similar to those who use marijuana or pulled an all-nighter.  On average, after performing the tasks, one’s
IQ dropped about fifteen points, which is unacceptable for an average adult.
When one’s IQ drops that much, they develop the IQ of an average eight or nine-year-old
child.(Peter Bregman, Harvard University) Clearly, multitasking does not have positive
effects on the ability to think or process information. The next time that you
are studying while watching television, remember your cognitive capacity is
being so dismissed that you should just let a child take your test.

Multitasking
can take its toll on business goals, and profits can suffer when employees are continuously
blocked with interruptions. A study by a consulting company, Basex, studied how
employees perform their tasks while in the presence and use of electronics and
other distractions. They found that on average businesses lose six hundred and
fifty billion dollars in just one year due to employees being distracted. (Business
insider) Employees will talk on the phone while on the phone with clients or
maybe they will be texting during an important meeting. It may not seem like an
important issue or something that would cost organizations a lot of money, but
multitasking is a leading cause of production loss. “Trying more than one
thing at a time — especially anything potentially dangerous, like texting while
driving — seriously compromises our ability to complete the tasks safely and
well. Equally important, repeatedly switching back and forth from project to
project, like a hummingbird darting from flower to flower and then back to the
original flower, can impair our ability to function at our finest.” (Dr. Kubu) When employees work on several tasks at once, too many distractions
break one’s concentration. Without the correct attentiveness, employees will
waste time because they have to take more time in refocusing on the important
duties that need to be performed.

            Stressing
out makes people turn to comfort eating, which leads to a weight gain. Have you
ever noticed that when you are stressed out you reach for the chips and
ice-cream?  This is due to the chemical
called serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical in the body that makes you feel
better, even happy. When you eat sugars your serotonin level raises, therefore
you feel better. Stress can also cause the body to let excess cortisol out.
Cortisol controls the energy use in the body, so it controls the amount of fat
burned and stored. When extra cortisol is released, hunger increases, and individuals
crave sugary foods.  Because Multitasking
causes stress, people can gain weight and even become obese. (American Psychological
Association)

            Attempting
to do more than one activity at once is a leading cause of an increase of
stress. The University of Sussex held an experiment on multitasking and its
effects. The results showed it has negative effects on both the body and the
mind. The value of a subject’s work was reduced when multitasking due to the
stress is caused. When given more than one task at once, a worker becomes
overwhelmed and pressured to finish their work, which also decreases the work’s
quality. Multitasking eventually takes its toll on a person. When one is
multitasking constantly, they do not have time to relax and heal their mind.
Due to a constant flow of work, the tasks keep piling up, which increase stress
and anxiety. “Cortisol, the stress hormone, is released as a
result. That clouds your thinking. Among other things, it shuts down higher
cognitive activity. Cortisol is associated with the fight or flight reaction.
You are not meant to be pondering and solving complicated problems in a fight
or flight situation, you are meant to either punch somebody in the nose or run
away so they don’t punch you,” (Dr.
Daniel J. Levitin).
Eventually, multitasking may become dangerous because of the effects so much
stress will have on the body and mind. Constant high-stress levels can cause
employees to become mentally incompetent or ill and therefore miss more days of
work and decrease their overall productivity.

Recent
studies have shown that multitasking has many negative effects including, an
increase in stress, higher cost for businesses, lack of focus, lowers work
efficiency and IQ, and even can have long-lasting damage on the brain. These
bad effects can take their toll on a person by not allowing one to recover from
the constant bombardment of excessive stimuli they receive every day. Everyone
multitasks and if they say otherwise, they most likely do not even notice they
are doing more than one activity at once. If you look around a room, you can
probably see someone on their phone, talking, and watching Netflix all while
trying to do work. Multitasking does more harm than good and if not stopped, it
impairs not only the people performing this switching back and forth of tasks but
also businesses that encourage their employees to multitask.

 Our brains are not wired to multitask, and the
constant switching of tasks creates bad brain habits. After we finish some type
of activity whether it was sending a text or making your bed, we are struck by
a hormone called dopamine.  Dopamine aids in controlling the brain by
releasing pleasure or “reward.” Dopamine also helps regulate emotional and perceptive
responses. It is used as an award and our brains cannot get enough of this
hormone. Every time we switch tasks dopamine is released so we keep multitasking
in order to receive this reward. (American Psychological
Association)  Potentially, this is hazardous because it makes you feel as though a
lot has been accomplished, when in fact the opposite is true. It is known that
our brains can only handle about four stimuli at a time. Once the brain reaches
its maximum, the usefulness of our mind deteriorates. With so many tasks
happening at once, the brain’s natural reaction is to slow down. This results
in less productivity and affects one’s ability to learn and retain information.
 This is very dangerous for businesses that
try to stay updated with the newest software in order to keep up with
competitors. “Working memory enables us to work online, but it’s also a limited
resource. When you are on Facebook, you are making it harder to keep the things
that are ‘online’ in your brain that you need, and when you try to store many
things in your working memory, you get less good at processing information.”
(Professor Erik Fransen)

Multitasking
is to simultaneously work in several directions. In truth, multitasking does
not exist, at least in the way we perceive it. Yes, a drummer can play the drums
with both hands, but after extensive rehearsing the brain does not have to
think about moving each hand. We are not physically capable of processing more
than one piece of information instantaneously. It is not possible to do more
than one activity at a time; your brain is essentially switching tasks back and
forth at a fast pace. For example, when you are on your laptop and watching
television, you are not actually doing both at once, you are really switching
back and forth with the help of visual cues. This switching of activities back
and forth is mentally exhausting. It uses up the glucose in the brain, which is
what we use to focus on tasks. Without glucose, it is almost impossible to get
anything done.(The Observer) “That switching comes with a biological cost that ends up making us
feel tired more quickly than if we sustain on one thing. People eat more, they
take in more caffeine. Often what you really need in the moment is not
caffeine, but just a break. If you are not taking regular breaks every couple
of hours, your brain will not benefit from that extra cup of coffee.” (Dr.
Daniel Levitin, McGill University)

One of the qualities required for any
employee today is multitasking. In today’s society finding people who do not
multitask is quite rare. Employers often promote inflated standards to their
workers even those required to complete simple tasks such as, getting the
morning coffee or washing dishes. It is a popular belief that multitasking is
very effective and allows you to complete more work in a shorter period
compared to a non-multitasking worker. However, multitasking is unproductive
and damaging for people who try to perform more than one task at once.

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