Bad News: You Can’t Multi-Task

by Ron Sherbert in Personal Development

I’m going to give you some bad news, you can’t multitask. I know there are lots of people who believe they’re good at multitasking and that by multitasking they can get more done during a certain amount of time.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as multitasking.

There is multiple task switching. This is when you switch from one task to another while believing that you are doing both at the same time.

chewing gumThe only two things that you can truly multitask with is walking and chewing gum, the reason being that through repetitive muscle memory you do not have to use your brain to walk or chew gum. Your brain will do both on autopilot. Everything else needs some interaction and concentration with the brain.

I’m going to prove this to you right now by having you do two simple exercises.

First, I want you to try to think of two different things at the same time. Doing this will make you realize that it’s impossible to have two different thoughts in your mind at the same time.

The second exercise that I’m going to have you do will prove to you that doing one thing at a time is faster than multitask switching.

On the top half of a blank piece of paper I want you to write the phrase the Apple is red and underneath that phrase I want you to write out the numbers 1 – 13, one numeral for each letter of the phrase above. It will look like this but in your own hand writing.

T h e  A p p l e   i  s    r   e   d

1 2 3  4 5 6 7 8  9 10 11 12 13

You’re going to time yourself as you write out the Apple is red and then the numbers 1 – 13 underneath it. You will find that this will take you approximately 15 seconds.

Now you are going to time yourself doing this exercise a second time but this time you are going to alternate writing one letter and then one number going back and forth until you finish the phrase and the numbers.

It will take you at least one third more time as you switch from one task to another. For most people, it takes at least 20 seconds to complete the same exercise the second time.

Now that you’ve proven to yourself through these two simple exercises that there is no such thing as multitasking, you can become much more efficient with your time and up to 80% more productive by concentrating on doing only one thing at a time until it’s completed.

task complete

If you want to be more efficient and more productive the best place to start is to stop trying to multitask.

To be most productive, you can only allow yourself to concentrate and do one thing at a time until it’s completed.

So, will you continue to fool yourself by attempting to multitask or are you going to become more productive and start doing one thing at a time?

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