The Multitasking Myth

Let’s dive into a topic that affects all of us living in this modern world of technology and connectivity—multitasking. It’s a concept we often associate with productivity, but the reality is actually the opposite.

Now, if you’d prefer to listen/watch this article – click here for the YouTube version (where you get a little more spice, and a lot more sass 😆).

Imagine driving a car while listening to music… 

Seems like multitasking, right? 

Not really… 

You see, in this scenario, you likely have a high level of automaticity (when a task becomes so well practiced that it requires very little cognitive effort… that’s why I coined the phrase – practice makes permanent) so you can do the tasks simultaneously. 

But what’s really happening – even when you have automaticity – is your conscious, cognating (or processing) attention is only going to one thing at a time, it just may be switching so rapidly that it is not outwardly…or inwardly noticeable.

You see, true multitasking—juggling multiple conscious tasks simultaneously with no loss of speed or accuracy—is a myth.

Research shows that your brain can only consciously focus on one thing at a time. The research also consistently shows that multitasking reduces efficiency. 

Sure, you can switch between tasks rapidly, but this constant switching actually decreases accuracy and productivity. It’s like trying to have too many tabs open on a computer screen – eventually you get lost in trying to find the right one… and eventually the rapid switching inevitably leads to mistakes and wasted time.

That means that the very thing you are doing to ‘boost’ productivity, is actually sabotaging you and wasting your precious time.

If that isn’t bad enough, multitasking also stresses our brains, which can have a negative impact on our overall health and performance in various areas of life.

Let me get personal and vulnerable for a moment… 

Before becoming a Wellness Teacher, I was a self-proclaimed multi-tasking master in public education. First, it was in teaching secondary math, then it was leading professional development of teachers, and finally it was all the one-off, complex tasks of administration from creating and managing people, to coordinating assessments and budgets and schedules… and in all of it, when students were on campus – even after-hours, I was at the whim of their needs. I couldn’t say “this student-crisis has to wait until I get done with this staff presentation for tomorrow”.

The level of stress that continued to accumulate as I continued to take on my professional responsibilities while being a new mom – became too much.

The toxic impact of my false-perception of being a ‘multi-tasking master’, eventually led to crippling physical and mental illness…

But the beauty of what I learned and experienced through that – is why I am here now, to teach you the tools that are necessary to ditch to toxic stress – in this case, of multitasking – to bring in inner fitness and simple nutrition for lifelong wellness and optimal performance and productivity.

But what do we do instead of multitasking?

The inner fitness that is essential to combat multitasking is to optimize focus with mindfulness and attention building – that’s where a formal meditation practice comes in to build your inner fitness muscles for the long term.

And mindfulness can come as the informal practice throughout your daily activities that builds your capacity for focus as well as your ability to remain focused.

The other essential tools of inner fitness are around mindset and time management – your attitude shapes your results – especially when you have something or someone pull your attention off of a task and you must get back to the work after the offset. … this is the mark of resilience… and let me affirm, resilience is a quality, but also a practice that will serve you in living your most beautiful and fulfilled life – no matter what you are doing. 

In the simplest terms, stop trying to multitask and surrender to the reality that you will accomplish more, in less time, with better results, if you just focus on one thing at a time.

As you learn and build inner fitness practices, you will build your flexibility and resilience to meet all the inevitable setbacks with grace as you improve your quality and quantity of work in the big picture.

When you are ready to ditch the toxic effects of stress – including multitasking, the best place to begin is with Meditation Momentum – a 21-day meditation program designed for busy people who are seeking more calm, confidence and clarity. In the first week, you will focus on breathing meditations that include ways to bring breathwork into your everyday mindfulness practices for self-regulation of your nervous system, which makes for sustained focus.

Learn more here.

Here’s another great article by Evidence Based Education that explores the multitasking myth – enjoy (but only after you are done reading here…😉).

When you are ready to ditch overwhelm and burnout for clarity and balance,  check out the current  opportunities to build inner fitness and simple nutrition strategies right here https://stan.store/RobinsWellNest.

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