Multitasking Not as Good as We Thought

January 29, 2013  |  
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Multitasking is something we figure we need for our jobs but it turns out it may not actually help you get things done. A study from the University of Utah published in the journal Plos One studied a group of undergraduate students and found that those who multitasked the most often were actually the worst when it came to time to complete assigned task.

Study participants were asked how often they multitasked, how often they used media and how good they thought they were at multitasking. Researchers then asked them to memorize a sequence of letters alternating with simple math problems. The results were rather startling; there was almost a direct correlation between how often subjects said they did more than one thing at once and how bad they were at completing the tests. Conversely, subjects who said they rarely multitasked did the best on the tests. Those that said they were above average multitaskers (70 percent) had low scores on the test and were rated by researchers as being thrill-seeking and impulsive. It also seems that media use had an effect on the results. Those who were the most active on different kinds of They were also said to be overconfident in their multitasking abilities.

So what does this mean for those of us with a million things on our plates and not enough hours in the day? It seems it’s best to focus on one thing—and to spend less time on media.

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