Multitasking and mindfulness? I’m guilty of multitasking or doing more than one task at a time. I can read an article, text, promote my blog, and write at the same time. Do I get anything accomplished? Yes, but slowly and with much effort. Multitasking creates a paradox. You might think that you will be more productive, but in reality, you are not.
Brain in overdrive
Because all of those tasks are happening simultaneously, your brain is forced to react quickly, moving back and forth by shifting your focus. Studies have shown that not only individuals that multitask are prone to not get things done, but they’re more apt to face burnout. Other findings include higher levels of stress and a poor quality of life for those individuals who engage in endless multitasking. A study from the University of Pittsburgh showed that adolescents who have multiple social media accounts suffer from greater depression and anxiety. Clearly, multitasking has its drawbacks.
Your brain wasn’t meant to overload itself with sensory input in such little time. When you multitask, you’re splitting your attention between things on your to-do list and figuratively you’re also splitting yourself. You might be checking things off the list but your brain is not registering the present moment. You trigger a nervous reaction since your brain now cannot focus on a single item completely because it is processing the other items. For instance, when you’re in a relationship and your partner is speaking and you’re on your cell phone, you’re not truly listening to them. Taking a computer analogy, multitasking can overload the RAM in your brain.
Multitasking and Mindfulness
Multitasking can cause people to feel less empathetic toward others. People might not listen to your words, and they might not be aware of the full scope of the situation. There’s another downside to multitasking. When you’re not fully present with what you’re doing or who you’re spending time with, you miss things. You’ll discover that you have a tendency to spend a lot of time and energy on things that don’t matter.
Multitasking keeps you distracted. The cure for multitasking is mindfulness. This means that you’re focused on the present. You’re giving whatever task you’re doing 100% of yourself. It means whoever you’re interacting with isn’t having to compete for your attention because you’re 100% present with them. Being fully present can help to deepen relationships with those you’re keen on.
It can also make you better at your job, more understanding of your coworkers, and happier in all aspects of your life. When you’re being mindful, you’re focused. You engage your mind and your emotions together. By being focused, you’re aware of the task. Getting it done will be easier and you won’t be stressed.
When you focus on a person, you’ll be able to have a deeper connection without multitasking. You’ll be fully engaged in your own life and in the lives of the people you interact with. Mindfulness can teach you how to keep your focus on the moment. It can show you how to enjoy the day-to-day tasks and situations even if they’re mundane. Clearly, multitasking and mindfulness are not compatible.