More on doing fewer things at once

This may be the thing you need to know most: stop with the multitasking. It is bad. It is rubbish. Here’s someone with a psychology background agreeing with me:

One thing at a time — For many years the psychology research has shown that people can only attend to one task at a time. Let me be even more specific. The research shows that people can attend to only one cognitive task at a time. You can only be thinking about one thing at a time. You can only be conducting one mental activity at a time. So you can be talking or you can be reading. You can be reading or you can be typing. You can be listening or you can be reading. One thing at a time.

We fool ourselves — We are pretty good at switching back and forth quickly, so we THINK we are actually multi-tasking, but in reality we are not.

The one exception — The only exception that the research has uncovered is that if you are doing a physical task that you have done very very often and you are very good at, then you can do that physical task while you are doing a mental task. So if you are an adult and you have learned to walk then you can walk and talk at the same time.

The True Cost Of Multi-Tasking – Susan Weinschenk Ph.D, Psychology Today (18 September 2012)

That last bit about physical tasks was new to me but I think we all need reminding of the problems of multitasking. As ever, read the full piece.

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