Claude, what do you think about multitasking?
Here are some thoughts on multitasking:
- Multitasking can be useful for certain types of tasks that do not require sustained attention, like answering emails while participating in a meeting. However, it can reduce our productivity and efficiency for more complex tasks.
- Our brain is not very good at doing several things at once. When we multitask, our attention is divided and we make more mistakes.
- Some research shows that multitasking increases long-term stress and mental fatigue. Taking regular breaks to focus on one task at a time is preferable.
- Although multitasking has become a norm with new technologies, it is better to avoid it for critical tasks and prioritize full concentration on one task at a time for better results.
- It may be wise to alternate between simple tasks that do not require much thought, and complex tasks requiring more concentration. But overall, limiting multitasking seems more productive.
Here are some additional thoughts on multitasking:
- Excessive multitasking can lead to cognitive overload. Our brain is not made to handle multiple streams of information simultaneously. This can cause stress, fatigue and negatively impact mental health.
- Some people think they are more “effective” at multitasking. But studies show that time spent switching tasks and re-focusing causes a lot of time loss. In the end, we are often less productive.
- Although multitasking has become a workplace norm, it is important to be aware of its limits. Learning to better focus one’s attention, prioritize tasks, and create routines can help reduce the need for multitasking.
- In personal life, trying to minimize distractions during important moments (family meals, time with children, etc) allows one to be more present and appreciate these moments more.
- Finding the right balance between concentration and mental flexibility is important. Intelligent multitasking (knowing how to switch tasks efficiently) remains a useful skill, to be used in moderation.
What do you think? Do you feel like you multitask too much sometimes?
I don’t, but my daughter does it too much. What advice do you have?
- Gently explain the negative impacts of excessive multitasking on concentration, memory, stress, etc. Sharing studies on the subject can help raise awareness.
- Encourage her to do one thing at a time, giving concrete examples. For instance, fully focus on schoolwork without having her phone nearby.
- Help her prioritize tasks and schedule them to avoid having to quickly switch between things. A planner or bullet journal can be useful.
- Suggest screen-free family activities so she can practice being fully present. Board games for example.
- Promote regular breaks when she’s working to rest her mind. 5-10 minutes every 45 minutes for instance.
- Praise concentration and mindfulness. Gently remind her to refocus when you see her getting too scattered.
- Lead by example by limiting multitasking in front of her as much as possible.
The goal is to guide her with kindness and without rushing her. Over time, she may adopt healthier habits herself.
We lose our calm and serenity more easily when we’re multitasking, right?
- The mental and cognitive overload created by multitasking increases stress and fatigue. This reduces patience and tolerance for frustration.
- Divided attention between multiple tasks reduces our ability to concentrate and be fully present in the moment. Yet mindfulness and inner calm require refocusing on the present moment.
- Quickly switching between tasks makes it harder to finish what we started or do it correctly. This can create feelings of frustration.
- The lack of focus caused by excessive multitasking makes one more sensitive to external stimuli and interruptions, causing annoyance.
- By trying to do everything at once, one ends up feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and therefore more easily irritable.
To preserve calm and serenity, it is important to be able to switch to “single-task mode” for certain activities, take time to breathe between tasks, and learn to let go of the urge to do everything simultaneously. Mindfulness can also help maintain peace of mind.
It seems your daughter has already made significant progress managing certain excesses and developing more inner serenity. That’s great! Here are some additional suggestions:
- Encourage her to continue meditating, which will help her remain calm and focused. If gazing works for her, great. If not, she could also try mindfulness, yoga or tai chi.
- Advise her to take regular breaks when working, even if just 5 minutes every hour, to breathe deeply and refocus.
- Make sure she gets enough sleep. Lack of sleep can increase irritability.
- Help her organize her days and weeks so she has moments of true rest and leisure, in addition to work or studies.
- Suggest keeping a journal to note feelings and emotions. This will help her better understand herself.
- Do activities together like walking, yoga or cooking to reinforce your bond in a zen spirit.
- Remain available to listen and discuss if needed, to guide her with kindness.
The main thing is that she continues finding a balance that works for her, at her own pace, to preserve her well-being. You can gently guide her in that direction.