Multitasking- a fatal flaw?

I read an article today which suggested that our ability to multitask could be a ‘detrimental disadvantage’. As a proud multitasker with about a million things going on at once (of course I can watch Masterchef AND revise geography!), I was curious to read how what I thought was a useful skill could be so damaging.

The author, Gregory Jantz, Ph.D, argued that with our brain switching between so many things our focus is shattered and we may ‘fail to appreciate all the nuances of focused activity’. Whilst I understand his point- maybe if I focused on walking rather than checking my emails, my facebook, texting and making a mental to do list I might be able to avoid walking into lamp posts- I don’t think i’m missing out on much, in fact i’m able to get more done. 

In the article it was argued that it was our technology rich culture which was to blame for our tendency to multitask and inability to be fully present in any situation and this I cant deny. My iPhone is my constant companion and I rarely go 10 minutes without checking I haven’t suddenly been inundated with messages. We live in a technological age where getting things done is the main aim (all hail the iPhone and its fabulous alarms and reminders!) But is just ‘getting things done’ enough? I can see the author’s point. Have we become disengaged from the things we’re doing, valuing efficiency over quality and attention?

We can train our brains to switch quickly between activities but the more activities we add, the more strain we put on our brain and we end up exhausted. Whilst i’m definitely a sucker for the ‘getting things done’ mindset, the tiredness that goes with it is something i’d love to avoid.

I still don’t believe that multitasking is negatively affecting my life- I like being able to do work and at the same time do other things- but I understand that the number of distractions might be a little excessive. I’m not saying i’m ready to turn off the technology just yet, but maybe every now and then I can leave my phone behind…


If you’d like to read the article you can follow the link below:


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