Are friend a agree at working out if listening to the recent podcast? maybe you can also hold a conversation when planning the end the rest of your day?

Like myself — you are probably a multitasker.

You are watching: Which is better: mindfulness or multitasking?

There is some pride involved when conquering several work at once, favor driving while eat Chipotle and also calling right into a meeting — all there is no spilling that overpriced guac on your chinos.

In fact, countless employers discover this trait very desirable — even though ns would never put my burrito-eating skills on my resume.

But in reality, multitasking is frequently detrimental, reducing efficiency by practically 40%. Your brain is not concentrated on the present moment, and you are more likely to do mistakes. 

It’s quickly shifting your attention from one task to another. Thus, the is less complicated for your brain to become distracted and exhausted. 

You are basically half-assing multiple tasks instead of whole-assing just one.

Still, some human being swear up and down the they are born to it is in multitaskers. If I would certainly love to provide these so-called experts the advantage of the doubt, the evidence against multitasking — and in donate of mindfulness — is overwhelming.


The science & Downsides to Multitasking

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Yes, you may think you’re an experienced multitasker, but girlfriend are just an expert in your reality. 

Not to an outbreak a plainly morbid example, yet the practically 3,000 civilization killed through distracted driving every year probably thought they were great multitaskers as well.

Suppose that argument alone doesn"t stir you increase a bit. In the case, ns think you need to look in ~ some clinical study results about multitasking pitfalls.

Switching prices & psychological Refractory Period


Psychologists have discovered that over there is a mental cost in between switching tasks.

In the 90s, Ph.D. Researchers crafted a examine where attendees performed task-switching experiments. They contrasted how lengthy it took topics to finish a task based upon their previous tasks" complexity and also variety. 

They uncovered that human being who switched come a totally different job - however predictable - were slower to readjust to the brand-new task than topics who repetitive the exact same task again.

It’s choose a refractory period after lovemaking — but because that your big brain, no your little brain.

Task intricacy Index


In a 2001 experiment, researchers performed a collection of math-based task-switching experiments on college students and also young adults. 

They uncovered that each brand-new task to be met with lost time (as we formerly mentioned, the mental refractory period), live independence of intelligence level.

Also, they discovered that the amount of time lost in between tasks associated with the intricacy of the task itself. 

Therefore, the higher the task intricacy index, the much longer the important mental refractory period. It’s choose if you space in the gym lifting heavyweights: the weight your mind benches, the longer rest you need in in between sets.

Further research has actually quantified this refractory duration to be the mind recouping, figuring out where it remained in the vault task, and reconfiguring its regulate settings in ~ the brand-new task.

Gray issue & Mental Health


Multitasking isn’t just about inefficiency and lost productivity; it can even go as far as influence your psychological health

Research has linked world how media multitask (using multiple displays or devices) with reduced gray matter thickness in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in ~ the brain. The ACC is responsible because that both cognitive and also emotional control.

Therefore, we have the right to assume the the much more you multitask, the less you totally process your endure within reality.

Other researches have displayed that gray matter mind density is adversely correlated with mental disorders choose anxiety and depression. If it might be a large to link multitasking with the pervasiveness of psychological illness, over there sure seems to it is in a correlation.


You’re simply A Meat Computer

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Think the your mind like a computer. 

There are constantly a few programs running her bodily functions in the background so that you nothing drop dead. These psychological processes commonly don’t pat a duty in your day-to-day tasks or decisions unless you’re otherwise unhealthy. Still, they take it up a decent chunk of your mental computer power.

The staying capacity of your meat computer system should be focused ~ above what you space doing. It’s acquisition input via your senses and also outputting her emotions, thoughts, and also actions. 

Like with any computer, the more programs you have actually running, the slower and less efficient you become.

Obviously, this totality analogy is super-simplified, and there is much more to it.

Still, the sentiment holds: the key to maximize her meat computer’s efficiency — without enduring on top quality —is to emphasis on a singular task in the present.

This is where mindfulness comes into play.


Mindfulness Vs. Multitasking

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Mindfulness is the state the being completely aware of your surroundings. 

It’s around knowing what she doing when you’re law it — and why you room doing that in the an initial place. 

That’s no to speak you can’t carry out multiple points while being mindful; girlfriend should simply expend your power in the existing rather than in the future or past. 

Obviously, some world find this principle too vague and unhelpful, so stop look in ~ a far better example.

Let’s say you space brushing your teeth. For countless of us, this basic task is just part of our everyday routine and also often overlooked. You choose up the toothbrush, squeeze out out some toothpaste, quickly spritz the loaded brush through some water, and also feverishly brush her chompers. 

Yet if you space brushing your this while being mindful, friend are totally focused on dislodging food scraps and polishing your pearly whites. 

You understand your why for brushing your teeth, and adjust your actions to fit the purpose. Basically, you aren’t brushing your teeth simply for the heck of it; you are doing the to boost dental hygiene and also maintain one acceptable social appearance.

Still, most of the time, your mind is no thinking about reaching back to your molars or scraping her tongue (if you aren’t doing this, you have to start).

Instead, your head is sheathe up around what you will wear because that the day, why your ceo doesn’t it seems to be ~ to prefer you, and how Rose had plenty the room on that door because that Jack at the end of Titanic.

In other words, you are multitasking — albeit poorly — between preparing for her day, theoretical movie plot holes, and keeping your mouth clean.

Your mind ruminates, spiraling into the abyss, moving from one thought to another — then another after that. 

You aren’t life in the present moment.

That leads united state to the truth around multitasking. If your mind is thinking about something while your body is law something else, you aren’t completely productive.

Even if the a single task, then you are multitasking. Friend aren’t placing 100% of your meat computer’s handling power into reality, hence not performing come the ideal of your ability.

Still, multitasking is not as poor as that is made the end to be. In fact, that often essential to multitask to endure in today’s society.


1. Vocalize Your Task

One cheat in the mindfulness human being is not just to know your intentions however to rewire your mind to emphasis on a solitary task at a time. 

By vocalizing what you space doing, you room basically commanding your mind to perform that thing. This method works best during those minuscule refractory periods when you space switching tasks. Let’s take it a look at a quick example.

Let’s to speak you’re comment an email; friend should be able to say, “I’m answering an e-mail literally.” Then, you view a an alert pop-up because that Facebook. You would then say, “I’m check my facebook notifications.” 

At first, you need to be speak these things out loud, but once you obtain a tiny bit of practice, you’ll have the ability to vocalize your job in her head to steer your brain in the best direction.


2. Know Your Schedule

Productivity and procrastination room directly linked to emotional processing ability. In turn, this mental ability is pertained to alertness and wakefulness.

Therefore, come exert her most entire effort and focus on either mindfulness or multitasking, you have to recognize which time of job you’re at her best. Maybe you’re an early bird, or maybe you like to burn the midnight oil. 

It’s likewise important to keep in mind that the optimal time of work is not the exact same for each specific task. Girlfriend don’t have to lump all of your essential errands right into a three-hour window.

Personally, ns really choose to write in the mornings due to the fact that it renders me feel many creative. Still, my optimal gym time is in the afternoon. 

It’s all around understanding your motivations and energy levels to enhance your efficiency.


3. Execute (Or Don’t) remove Distractions

The traditional assumption is that if you remove distractions, girlfriend are an ext likely to it is in productive. When this is regularly the case, it doesn’t tell the entirety story.

Albeit limited, study has presented that distractions might actually regulate urgers and increase self-control. Castle act together a quick reward device for the brain, especially when a task’s cognitive demands weigh hefty on your processing power.

Yet, the concern with distractions is no the distraction us but the guilt us feel ~ succumbing come the distraction. 

We blame ourselves because that falling under the wikihole and watching hrs of time-wasting Youtube videos instead of putting our nose to the grindstone. 

The build-up of time-wasters breeds negative self-talk, placing our already overheated meat computer system into overdrive.

The an essential is come gamify ours distractions as a reward system, refocusing ours cognition on productivity’s emotional element.


4. Usage A modified Pomodoro Technique

I’m going to it is in honest: my time management an abilities used to be completely horrendous. 

One minute ns was all set to conquer my day-to-day tasks. The next moment, i was implanting mine opinion into the digital Zeitgeist the is Reddit. And also the reality that I have actually ADHD didn’t aid at all.

That’s as soon as I learned about the Pomodoro Technique.

I won’t obtain into the origins of the Pomodoro technique too much. Still, the simply of that is that you job-related on one task exclusively for 25-minutes, climate take a short break before moving onto an additional task (or it could be the same task again).

 The an easy steps are as follows:

Determine which task to perform.Set a 25-minute timer.Work on claimed task.End that task after 25-minutes and record a checkmark ~ above a item of paper.Take a 5-minute rest if you have actually fewer than 4 checkmarks and go earlier to the beginning (it doesn’t constantly have to be the exact same task every Pomodoro). Or take it a 15–30 minute break if friend have an ext than 4 checkmarks.

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Any time you finish a details task prior to the timer goes off, you need to not move onto a brand-new task. Instead, take some time to reflect on her work, modify your writing, or gain into the ideal headspace for your next 25-minute interval.

Here’s whereby the alteration comes in: 

I include an emotionally reflection ingredient at the finish of each interval, asking myself: How did ns feel during the task? 

This concern helps to avoid psychological burnout and also enhance productivity. Ns able come physically notate mine mood to obtain a better understanding that the task. 

Also, it help me to collection my day-to-day schedule up for success. Because that example, if one 25-minute interval make me feeling mentally drained, ns may setup on the following task to be reasonably simple so i don’t go crazy. 

Give it a shooting if you have some time, and also make certain to inspect out more an excellent mindfulness, gratitude, and self-improvement information from the Bro Journal