It's not unusual to see someone composing an email on their phone while walking down the street, listening to music while reading the newspaper on the metro, or looking at a computer screen with numerous windows and tabs open. Experts argue that, despite continually juggling numerous activities, people are not particularly effective at multitasking. In fact, research has shown that it is difficult for most people to perform more than one task effectively. Multitasking may appear to be easy for some people, but even they can only handle a limited number of tasks at any given time.
The brain is capable of performing several tasks at once. For example, researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how people use their brains when doing multiple things at once. They found that each task requires its own set of neurons to be activated; however, other studies have shown that certain groups of neurons are active when many different tasks need to be performed quickly. This suggests that the brain uses a strategy called "divide and conquer" to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
People have different levels of skill when it comes to multitasking. Some individuals may be able to switch rapidly from one activity to another, while others may find this difficult. Some experts believe this ability is genetically determined. No matter what level you are at, learning how to improve your multitasking skills will help you get more out of life.
Multitasking is built into today's computers. Multitasking, on the other hand, has been definitively demonstrated to be an unsuccessful technique of working for humans. Performance worsens when individuals multitask, according to research dating back to the 1980s. Further evidence comes from studies showing that brain activity when people perform multiple tasks is different than when they perform a single task.
People who try to do more than one thing at a time often make mistakes in any of the things they are doing. This happens because our brains were not designed to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. We can only focus on one thought at a time, and yet many people try to do so with computers. The results are messy and often frustrating.
Computers also suffer from being forced to work on several projects at once. This makes it difficult for them to finish any of them properly. Software engineers have tried to solve this problem by creating systems that allow users to "pick up" where they left off on their computers. But these features have not been well received by consumers, who prefer their computers to simply work properly the first time around.
In conclusion, it is not good for humans to multitask on computers.
According to 2009 research from Stanford University, multitaskers "who are routinely assaulted with many streams of electronic information do not pay attention, manage their memory, or move from one work to another, as well as those who prefer to perform one activity at a time." The study also concluded that multitaskers actually lose IQ points over time.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Lead author Sara Konrath said in an interview that people think of themselves as being good multitaskers, but the study found that actual multitaskers aren't as efficient as they think they are. "People believe that they're better at multitasking than we found them to be," she said. "We actually lost accuracy by multitasking."
Konrath added that while it's true that focusing on only one thing for too long can cause problems with concentration and memory, this doesn't mean you should never multitask. "If you have to make multiple decisions about different things, then trying to do them all at once is going to be harder than doing them one at a time," she said. "But if you're sending e-mails and talking on the phone and listening to music—those are all examples of multitasking—then you're going to be okay."