Multitasking Bad For Health

Multitasking may be defined as engaging oneself in different tasks at a particular point of time. People are getting involved in multitasking because of their work demands and busy life which seems to be a norm now days. Due to increasing demands of work, life, environment or what ever you may want to call it, people have less time in their pocket to finish all their responsibilities on time due to which they have to adopt the method of multitasking which can lead to mental and physical health implications. When we are juggling several balls at the same time it is but natural to drop a few here and there but the problem might be more sever than just dropping balls.

Scientists are discovering that people involving in multitasking are suffering from many brain problems such as stress and anger in adults and learning difficulties and autistic behavior in children. Definitely, multitasking makes us less efficient and we can work to our full efficiency. Our brain cannot work properly when switched for multitasks. When we put our brain to do different tasks at the same time, we demand more from our brain and which is not possible for our brain to do.

A research has been done by Earl Miller, a professor and neuroscientist at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He scanned the head of volunteers while they performed different tasks and found that when we are watching something, then we can focus on only one or two things that mean that we are able to perform one of two items properly. When we try to concentrate on two or more than two words we put overload on our brain and it leads to slowing down of our brain.

Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at the University of London, reported a few years ago that even if just think about multitasking, it can cause the log jam of our brain.

An American study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that students took far longer to solve complicated math problems when they had to switch to several other tasks - in fact; they were up to 40 per cent slower. This study also showed that multitasking has a ‘negative effect on the physical health and stimulate the release of stress hormones’.

Studies by Gloria Mark, an ‘interruption scientist’ at the University of California, show that when people frequently switch from one task to another, work faster, but their productivity decreases. After 20 minutes of interrupted performance, people report significantly higher stress levels, frustration, workload, effort and pressure.

Dr Alan Keen, a behavioral scientist at Australia’s Central Queensland University, believes that multi-tasking is a good reason to see fits of rage among the people. This happens due to increased levels of stress hormones. The stress hormones cortisol is responsible for causing aggressive and impulsive behavior and increases our risk of heart diseases.

According to a report by American scientists in the journal Cyber psychology and behavior, it is found that if young people spend more time for multitasking, they find it hard to concentrate on a single intellectual task such as reading a book.

Professor Russell Poldrack, a psychologist at the University of California explains that children who try to do their homework while watching TV do not do good in exams because this sends information to the wrong part of the brain.

Gary Small, a neuroscientist and author of the book iBrain, warns that children who spend their initial year’s multi-tasking do not focus on development and have slow forming interpersonal skills. He says that there is weakening of the brain nerve control and we lose social interactions. We become awkward and give non-verbal message to our friends and in the society. He says that it can lead to the development of autistic behavior in children.

Affects of multitasking
Multitasking affects our memory and attention. When we involve our brain in multitasking we often forget one thing over the other. For example, you went to the kitchen to bring a bottle of water and suddenly you hear the phone ring and get back to answer the phone. In the meantime you forget why you had gone to the kitchen or what were you doing before attending the phone. People who are more involved in multitasking are affected more as compare to their counterparts who do less multitasking. Multitasking interfere with our memory more as we get older although it may affect at any age.

Lack of focus
When you are working on different things at the same time you lack focus and cannot complete single task. Your concentration break up when you have too many distractions. You cannot complete one work efficiently. Your mind does not get rest to focus on important work and you waste your time.

Increases risk for heart diseases
When you try to perform many activities at one time it leads to secretion of stress hormones. The pressure on your heart also increases which can raise your blood pressure and many harmful heart problems. You may become anxious and it may cause inefficiency in your work. Your productivity becomes low and it can impact your position at work. 

You quickly get exhausted
When you put your brain to overload by involving it in multitasking you feel fatigued easily. You become tired and cannot do further work. You may have to leave everything in between and you are unable to finish a single task before time. Thus, it may cause fatigue and exhaustion of both brain and physical body.

Some tips to do multitasking effectively
Do not do the multitasking in the afternoon because our brain has to struggle a lot for multitasking in the afternoon. We feel fatigue after eating lunch, and if at that time we put our brain to strain of multitasking, it causes an overload.

Meditation is a good option for people who multitask. It is found that mediation leads to increased development of the brain areas associated with memory and attention. U.S research shows that meditation makes our brain more efficient.