Multitasking

We live in a period (and society) in which being able to do multiple things is a skill appreciated. If you tried to search Google the topic multitasking, you will find different bloggers and online content generators competing in proposing different techniques. In workspace, if you are not a multitasker, you are called inefficient or an employee of limited capabilities.

However, Neuroscience got another word – well, something scientific: the human brain is NOT designed to multitask. Simply put, your brain simply cannot multi-task. If it isn’t, then, you would say, so how I am able to multitask all that time? Well, you deluded that you are multitasking. What happens neurologically is that you brain is simply switching between tasks; however, it fools you that you are multitasking because the human brain is highly quick in doing these switches. Very well, some would say, if my brain does not support multitasking yet is able to effectively switching between different tasks; then, fair enough I am still multitasking who cares how this is being handled neurologically inside the brain. Well, no. The operation of switching between tasks comes with high cost. It’s in fact a highly resource consuming activity to juggle between multiple tasks. The human brain uses Glucose as its primary nutrition and such exhaustive switching of tasks causes your brain to burn Glucose at rapid rate. This leaves you feeling exhausted and deplete your overall energy. Furthermore, on the mental level, the human brain works via networking neurons in different patters. For example, performing a specific task would cause a specific set of neurons to fire together in a neural network. What happens when you juggle between tasks is that this neural circuity is never established to its stable form. It remains suseptible to interference over the course of time. That’s why jugglers and people who attempts to learn multiple things concurrently or over short timeframes are never masters of anything from what they learn. Thus what you think is multitasking is not only depleting your bodily and mental energy quickly, but it also hinders your mental development in what you do.

Having talk about the mental dimension and neurological dimension, the delusion of multitasking also kills another dimension, the existential and psychological. You have to see focusing and doing one thing sufficiently at a time as a bliss and joy you are missing. When you let yourself get absorbed in a task you do, this acts as an effective way of healing life’s stresses (remember, your brain can’t do two things at a time – so focusing in one task means you won’t think of other problems). It also rewards you by feeding the human natural inclination to understand and gain knowledge. You feel that you are in more control over your task when you are fully focused in it without having to attend to others at the same time. This mental control feeds your inner mental satisfaction.

Next time, try it yourself. And remember the science: your brain can never multitask. Live in everything you do; for you breath in what you do only when you are fully engaged in it with all your senses.

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