The myth of multitasking
Updated: Apr 15
“People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy,” says Stanford researcher Clifford Nass. “They’re chronically distracted. They initiate much larger parts of their brain that are irrelevant to the task at hand.”
If multitasking is making us worse at sustaining attention, it’s actually making us worse at our jobs. When you’re being mindful, either naturally or through a meditation practice–you’re engaging in two activities:
o Regulating attention so it stays on what’s happening moment by moment o Approaching your experiences with openness, curiosity, and acceptance–even if the experience isn’t fun or desirable
Turns out that multitasking is an inefficient way to get things done, and you’re better off prioritising and going through your list items one by one. Especially important is to be able to tune out the constant and largely irrelevant bids for your attention (for example, social media!).
Practicing mindfulness builds focus – the mental strength to choose where, when, and for how long you pay attention. Of course you’ll still get distracted, but you’ll quickly notice when that happens and get your mind back under your control. A focused mind is a calm mind, which is the most efficient and effective state in which to work, play and connect with others. Observing 10 breaths morning and night (or anytime) is an easy and quick way to build this critical skill.