Multitasking does not exist


So Don’t even try –

You’re basically short-circuiting your brain’s ability to focus and attend to either (or any) of the tasks you are attempting to do simultaneously (but not) –

You’re actually engaged in ‘serial tasking’

There are designated areas of the brain that do specific things. And, sometimes you can seemingly do two things at once (like walk and talk or chew gum), but that does not translate into multi-tasking, according to neuroscientists –

And in trying to “multi-task” we are likely doing physical damage to ourselves –

I can’t believe I’m saying this: before you were born there was a great deal of value placed on doing one thing at a time and doing it to the best of your ability. When I was in my 20’s, I fell prey to the myth of believing that I could do two (or even three) things at once: I felt powerful, in control and like I had conquered the time-space continuum. I also didn’t learn to establish reasonable boundaries for myself or conserve my energy, so by the time I was 40, I was exhausted and realized the whole notion of do multiple things well at the same time was all an illusion.

There’s a better chance that one could live in two separate dimensions at the same time than do two things at the same time in one dimension. Chew on that for a moment.

Moral of this story: heed the example of your predecessors’ failures (as well as their successes), understand the scientific explanations of how the brain works/processes information, and make good choices so that you don’t burn out in the future (and pass this wisdom on to your students, please). Do one thing at a time, and do it well. Then the dopamine rush will carry you on to the next task, and the next, and the next.

Live long and prosper, my friends.









Other References  – from Cognitive Processes Course @ VT

Junco, R. (2012). In-class multitasking and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior28(6), 2236-2243. VText*

Sana, F., Weston, T., & Cepeda, N. J. (2013). Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers. Computers & Education62, 24-31.

Carrier, L. M., Rosen, L. D., Cheever, N. A., & Lim, A. F. (2015). Causes, effects, and practicalities of everyday multitasking. Developmental Review35, 64-78. VText*

*you will need to be logged in to the VT Network in order to access these documents via the link provided.