Struggling to multitask your way through your task list? Why multitasking is impossible!
Did you know that multitasking is impossible? Our brains can’t multitask, they instead task switch. And it can take up to 23 minutes to switch between tasks that involve higher-level thinking or a lot of concentration. Expecting your brain to “multitask” a.k.a rapid switching between activities, puts an enormous strain on your ability to concentrate and pay attention. Your brain only has a limited amount of energy it can direct to paying attention at any given time. Kind of like a battery, rapid switching between tasks drains your ability to concentrate and, ultimately leads to more errors and lower productivity.
Technology can help us be productive. However, when it comes to studying and focusing on a task, it can be one of the biggest distractions we face. When you allocate time to study, remember to switch your phone, and other devices to do not disturb. Close your email. Silence notifications on your laptop or PC. Basically, try to develop the habit of removing the temptation to become distracted by digital notifications.
How to avoid the multitasking trap
To get the best out of your study, here are some tried and tested study tips to avoid the multitasking trap:
- Firstly, it’s best to stay focused solely on the task at hand. Just one task at a time. Some studies have shown our brain focuses best for around 25 minutes at a time, so if you’re having trouble staying focused, set a timer and do your best for that time, then have a well-earned break.
- Create a study zone at home. Set up your space to be free from distractions and make it comfortable and welcoming. You need it to be a space you actually want to be in!
- Reward and Remind Yourself. Set yourself mini-goals, and then make sure you reward yourself for achieving them. Remind yourself why you are studying. This can be with visual cues like images around your study space. It can also be done with written affirmations. Reminding yourself of why you are studying is the key to staying motivated.
Perhaps the best way to avoid the multitasking trap is to plan ahead. Use your time management skills to schedule out and set aside time for all of the individual tasks you need to complete. Review your schedule. Ask yourself is this realistic for me to achieve? If you have doubts, reach out early to your Trainer or Program Coordinator and begin a discussion about how we can support you in your studies. Doing this ahead of time will improve your study experience, support you to make the adjustments you need to meet your study commitments and help you to avoid falling into the multitasking trap when deadlines begin to get closer.