Scientific research on this topic is crystal-clear: the human brain cannot multitask.
Our brains can’t handle two complex tasks at once. At best, we end up continuously switching our attention between the different activities on our plate. This switching costs us dearly: compared to single-tasking, multitasking takes more energy, slows us down, leads to more mistakes, and hampers our ability to think.
“There are lots of ways to slice 60 minutes. 1 × 60 = 60 2 × 30 = 60 4 × 15 = 60 25 + 10 + 5 + 15 + 5 = 60 All of the above equal 60, but they’re different kinds of hours entirely. The number might be the same, but the quality isn’t. The quality hour we’re after is 1 × 60." – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson in It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy At Work
In short, multitasking isn’t just impossible, it actually hurts our productivity, the very thing we think we’re improving.
There is another catch: the more you multitask, the more you feel you're good at it! This is an illusion. In numerous tests with people of all ages (including teenagers!), single-taskers always outperform multitaskers.
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