Multitasking: The Effects on Your Brain and Productivity

One of the skills we humans have is the ability to multitask. We tend to do things while doing some other things at the same time. And it’s amazing to think that we can finish everything that we’ve started. Yes, we can make it work. Ah, the superhumans in all of us. But the real question is, is the quality of your work good enough? [Good enough is even an understatement.] Surely, it’d be a 50-50!

Some of you here might think and believe that multitasking makes things done faster and easier. But, there is always a compromise specifically the compromise in quality. It can be to our advantage. Sometimes. And even so, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a good outcome of your work. Take the below for example.

When you are a content marketer, there are a lot of reasons your blog isn’t growing. Multitasking could be one of those reasons your blog posts aren’t selling at all. You may engage in either irregular blog postings, sloppy writings, being unresponsive to your audience, failing to generate new ideas or all. In short, even if you started to research, write and publish all the write-ups, the quality of each write-up suffers because of the lack of focus. There’s an overall lack of direction content-wise and no engagements whatsoever between your contents and your readers. Can you even call that productive? N-O-T.

Understandably, content marketers are busy beings especially when they are catching up with a strict deadline. Of course, it is not just about writing. He or she also has to manage various social media accounts, engaging with other potential audience all the while planning content marketing strategies for the next cycle. As a result, the marketer tends to multitask just to make everything done and within a limited amount of time.

Apparently, content marketers are said to be true multitaskers. But, it’s not an ideal thing to do definitely. If you’re not convinced enough, below are some facts and reasons as to why multitasking may not be a good habit not just for the content marketers, but to all of us.

1. Multitasking damages your brain

In everything we do, we use our brain. Certainly. Are you thinking about what new topic to write? What marketing strategies to do to increase the traffic on your blog? What good and informative answer can you give to your audience? Or, even thinking about other ways to catch your audience’s attention. While thinking about these things, there distractions and temptations around, dividing your attention which is not healthy for your brain.

Multitasking can actually damage your brain. That’s according to a study conducted at the University of Sussex. Your brain is not capable of focusing on all these things at once. When you force your brain to multitask, constant interruptions can cause a higher level of stress. Researchers also found out that people who tend to multitask have a lower brain density in the region of the brain that’s responsible for empathy, cognitive and emotional control.

2. Multitasking makes you less productive

If you think that multitasking produces outcomes in the fastest manner possible, then you better think again. It is not even called multitasking. You are really switching from task to task, which takes up more time than doing and sticking with one task until you finish them. That’s according to Dr. Susan Weinschenk. Researchers also found out that doing things simultaneously reduces your productivity by 40%. Of course, it’s because you are losing the ability to focus on a particular task.

Moreover, if you have just noticed, many of us content marketers here have experienced re-reading your drafts because you can’t remember where you left off or what context you want to convey. You are not making things faster; you’re backtracking a lot every time you switch tasks.

3. Multitasking makes you dumb

A very few of us might know that doing multitasking constantly can make a person dense in actuality. A study at the University of London founds out that multitasking can lower IQ scores, having the same effects of that of smoking marijuana or depriving yourself of a decent sleep.

Exposure to multitasking can reduce your intelligence, and it even can cause you to lose your common sense. When you multitask, you will lose the ability to know what’s right and what’s not.

4. Multitasking encourages you to cheat

There are several reasons people cheat. Considering that multitasking can make you less productive and slow, you tend to cheat – intentionally or not. For instance, when your deadline is nearing, and you’re still halfway through your task, you tend to cut corners and settle for mediocrity. And that’s cheating.

According to Weinschenk, multitasking or switching from task to task can lead to more errors than doing things one at a time. And when you do, that’s when you tend to be sloppy, and that’s something that’ll really get you in big trouble.

5. Multitasking lowers the quality of your work

There will always be a terrible outcome when you tend to multitask. It’s always the quantity versus the quality of your work. Sadly, the latter is often sacrificed. According to a study commissioned by the National Bureau of Economics Research, multitasking can reduce work performance that takes more time to accomplish a particular task. Paradoxically, the shorter the time you spend on a task, the poorer the quality may become.

When you are taking too much of your time switching from task to task, you may not be able to focus on improving and developing a new strategy to make a better blog. And as a result, you settle for less. You’re okay with the quality of your output when, in fact, there are still plenty of room for improvements.

6. Multitasking reduces the ability to make connections

Multitasking is one of the most dangerous habits of a content marketer. Naturally, a content marketer should be able to recall and connect articles, books, and other blog posts for you to create an on-point content for your audience. However, when you multitask, you will lose the ability to remember things and what you’re supposed to do like updating an old post, linking to an old post, etc. Eventually, you will just be giving your audience an unsatisfying output.

Aside from losing the ability to remember things, some studies show that when you multitask, you will have the difficulty integrating learning and insights into your content. Adding insult to injury, it takes more work and time to recontextualize the same thought as you have before.

READ: Your audience is multitasking, too!

Not all readers give their full attention to what they are reading. Some of them do multitasking, too. In a 2012 Nielsen survey, 47% of tablet users visit social networking sites while watching television, 27% look up information that is related to the advertising they see, and 61% check their email while watching a program. Multi-screen, people. In short, people usually consume at least two types of content at once.

Considering these facts, grabbing the audience’s attention is one of the struggles of a content marketer. That means, as a marketer, you should be able to grab their attention immediately using the headlines, headings, clear graphics, designs that don’t confuse with clutter, right colors that convey the apt visual appeal, etc. Your only weapon is a good and desirable output, so make each publish count.

Breaking the habit

If you think you are being productive when you multitask, sorry to burst your bubble but you are NOT. It is a terrible habit that you need to stop now. To emphasize, multitasking invites distractions and can make you less productive. Never try doing or switching from one task to another even when you are beating deadlines. It won’t work, and it will only get you in trouble.

Knowing your priorities is important. If you think you are already bombarded with things on your head, you better take a break. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and organize your thoughts. You will be able to know which of your tasks needs to be done first and which can be finished at a much later time. With this, focus on finishing your task and achieving an excellent output every time, all the time.

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