The Multitasking Myth

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Multitasking, to do or not to do…

 

What are we having for dinner? What did my boss ask me to do? When was my hairdressing appointment?

 

Sometimes we find we have a million things going on in our head at once, our thoughts are a busy jumble of to do lists and all the things we should be getting done. Unfortunately somewhere along the way we were taught multitasking was good for as. As women its something we boast to be effective at, as if it was a great accomplishment. So is it?

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About 6 months ago I decided to begin the journey in the art of meditation. Lying there for even five minutes seemed to be a greater challenge than getting through board exams. How could I focus on this man’s voice getting me to visualise light and colours travelling through my body when I have a million other things I should be doing at that moment.

 

As a Chiropractor I strongly believe that the things we find most challenging are the things we should be working on the most. That muscle hurts to stretch, its needs to be stretched more. That part of the body is weak, it needs to be strengthened. That part of the spine is subluxated, it needs to be adjusted. So I persisted. Quietening my mind is clearly something I and millions of people in the world find a challenge, it therefore needs to be worked on!

 

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Six months later and hours of time spent meditating I have learnt a few important lessons. A busy mind creates a chaotic life and I seem to achieve a lot more focusing on one job at a time rather than attempting to multitask!

 

Those skilled in the art of meditation will teach us that quieting the mind, being more present in the moment and focusing on one task at a time is better for your brain and you achieve more in life.

 

So what does the research tell us?

 

In fact this is a hot topic! Stanford university Scientists recently did a study of 100 students and found those who multitask get distracted by everything and that the brain is not good at attempting to do more than one task at a time!

 

The students were divided into two groups, those who regularly multitask and those who stick to one thing at a time. The first task used two red rectangles, surrounded by groups of two four and six blue rectangles. Each configuration appeared twice and the students had to determine whether the two configurations were the same or different. The non- multitaskers found it easy to ignore the blue rectangles and focus on just the red ones, while those used to multitasking found they were getting distracted by the presence of the blue rectangles.

 

In the next task the group were shown sequences of alphabetical letters and then asked when a letter was making a repeat appearance. The multitaskers did horrible, they were finding the more letters appeared the more trouble they were having sorting them in their brain compared to the non-multitaskers.

 

The tests went on to measure focus and attention and each time the non- multitaskers outshone the multitaskers!

 

Although this is just one of many small studies and more research is needed it definitely makes you stop and think, was I really kidding myself priding myself in my ability as a woman to multitask?

 

This month I challenge each one of you to, first of all give meditation a go and secondly bring more awareness to achieving one goal at a time instead of attempting to do everything at once! Can’t wait to hear how you all go!