Editor's Note: Agile Kids author Shirly Ronen Harel created today's blog post, all about multi-tasking and how it wastes your time! Read the book she authored with Danny Kovatch and enjoy her multi-tasking advice!
Why Multi-Tasking Wastes Your Time by Shirly Ronen-Harel of AgileKids
There are two types of people: those who can't do more than one task at a time, and those who think they can! Multi-tasking costs us. This is a fact.
Why is multi-tasking a waste of time?
1. Our Senses Can't Handle It:
Have you ever answered your mobile while watching TV and eating popcorn? And how many times have you said: 'Yes... Uh huh... Yes..." without actually paying attention?
Both the television and the mobile demand our attention, and both demand that we use our sense of hearing. We just can't do it!
Multi-tasking is also a stress response when we have to do many things – all important or urgent – at the same time.
You'll tell your kids to "Cleanupyourroomdoabathandgetdressed." That stresses them out! Even if YOU know that they don't have to do everything at the same time, your kids hear it differently. They'll either try to do everything at once and get stressed out, or simply shut down and ignore you.
3. We lose the Ability to Get Things Done:
Your kids are all multi-tasking geniuses, just like all kids in this generation! Their brains are better at it, and faster at processing the information flow. But even so, you've probably seen them do homework and surf the web at the same time. Homework will take longer to complete, as it doesn't have his undivided attention, and before you know it, he has to be off to his basketball practice. "Don't worry," he says, "I'll finish my studies in the evening. And you know that isn't going to happen!
Just like our kids, when we do lots of things at once without completing any of them, we damage our feelings of capability, which in turn harms our confidence and our growth.
4. Another interesting factor is our brain!
"When kids are multi-tasking, their brains are spending so much energy making quick decisions and responding to stimuli that they have fewer mental resources for comprehension and retention."
- Solid advice for helping kids grow smarter, healthier and happier, by David Walsh, Ph.D.
Multi-tasking costs us. It's that simple.
Here's a thought exercise.
Just imagine: you're waiting in line to get a sandwich. Your sandwich is already being prepared by Joe across the counter. Suddenly, some guy rushes in, who 'just needs a bottle of Coke, look, I've grabbed it from the fridge, here's the money, 'nowhurrybecausemykidiswaitinginthecar.'
Joe takes just a minute to stop preparing your sandwich, takes the money and puts it in the till. Only 60 seconds, right? And Joe just made more money? No harm done there. Now, just as your salad comes out of the kitchen, Joe's girlfriend calls him. Not even noticing your salad, he takes the call. Then he sees your salad on the counter, while still on the phone, and shoves it into a bag, and grunts at your 'we're done.' Not exactly shining customer service, right? And you probably wont' be coming back the next day either.
That's called context switching. And it just doesn't work.
In the industry, multi-tasking costs money. As you switch tasks, of course you need to adjust your workflow to the new task!
5. The weird thing is: sometimes we INVENT multi-tasking.
What do I mean? Sometimes I find people multi-tasking when some of the tasks aren't even important. They don't know how to focus on the important stuff, or what really needs to be done. Everything is a big bad list of stuff that we need to tick off!