5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Multitasking


Multitasking seems harmless, but it’s extremely detrimental to our health and has many harmful effects. Photo Courtesy of: David Bruyland from Pixabay.

Bushra Syed

Multitasking is when one tries to complete two or more tasks at the same time. As humans, we multitask regularly even if we don’t notice it-it’s an activity we tend to do subconsciously. This is usually because we don’t have enough time to complete each job individually, or because we don’t want to take the time for it. While it might seem like this can help us get our work done faster, it may be doing us more harm than good. Here are just a few of the reasons why we should avoid multitasking:

  • It causes us to overthink and stress.

Our brains are not capable of doing more than one task at once, so most of us can’t really multitask per se—it’s more of a mentality convincing us that doing multiple things at once will make our work easier. Multitasking has been shown to induce stress and anxiety. The constant worrying that comes from tasks that need to be finished by a certain time can make us feel extremely overwhelmed. Taking the time to dedicate ourselves to each job at separate times will allow us to finish our work stress-free.

  • It deteriorates our abilities to focus.

When balancing multiple jobs at once, we’re bound to come across distractions. We may get caught up in one activity and completely forget about another. Sometimes we find distractions within our tasks, which makes it even harder to focus on what needs to get done. This can also result in poor performance of regular day-to-day activities. About 2% of people are “true multitaskers,” demonstrating how even the smallest hindrances can throw the rest of us off balance.

  • We might be working even less efficiently.

Although multitasking is done to increase productivity, it might be doing the exact opposite of that. The study from earlier shows that multitasking reduces brain productivity up to a whopping 40%. Multitasking doesn’t really save time; in fact, it takes longer for us to jump from one task to another. According to health.com, psychologist Guy Winch says that “each task requires a specific mindset, and once you get in a groove you should stay there and finish.” If we pay attention to one thing at a time we’ll work more efficiently and relax our brains instead of fatiguing them more.

  • Juggling several tasks can hurt our memory.

Multitasking can also affect our memory and concentration. Multitaskers may experience confusion when they have to apply a different kind of knowledge to a specific job. This in turn overworks our brains and makes it harder to pay attention to what needs to get done. Some interruptions can lead to many errors in our work, even if they are minimal. If you struggle to retain information when working, multitasking just might be the cause of that.

  • It is generally dangerous to multitask.

The last reason why we should avoid multitasking is because of how hazardous it is to our health in some situations. A common example of this is texting while driving. Texting or driving may not cause difficulties but doing them simultaneously means that we aren’t fully paying attention to either one, which can be very dangerous when one task requires maximal focus. Other examples include crossing the street while using your phone or getting distracted while riding a bike.

Overall, doing several tasks all at once negatively affects us psychologically,  emotionally, and even physically. The act of multitasking has become so normalized that it’s taking a toll on our mental health. Quarantining has also affected our work paces and has been a root cause for over-burdening of work. The good thing about this is that we can stop pressuring ourselves to bite off more than we can chew. Instead of multitasking, we can start serial “uni-tasking,” which is much healthier for us. By doing this we can eliminate the risks of hurting ourselves and effectively finish our work with a more natural approach, one step at a time.