Embracing Mono tasking: Why I’ve Bid Farewell to Multitasking

In our fast-paced world, multitasking has become almost synonymous with efficiency. We juggle numerous tasks simultaneously, believing we’re maximizing our productivity. Yet, as we age, many of us begin to notice a decline in our ability to multitask effectively. Same is happening with me.

Occasionally, I’ll pause mid-task, asking myself, “Did I respond to that email?” prompting me to revisit my inbox.

Or there are moments when I notice a mess and wonder, “Who left these books scattered?” before realizing it was my doing.

With each passing day, I’m noticing that multitasking isn’t as effortless as it used to be.

Not so far in the past, I could create some new API while listening to some twitch streamer play my favourite game, juggling between 2-3 projects all at once. I felt like I could manage that, at least. Actually, I was just thinking quickly and recovering between ideas rather than sticking with one for too long. Not in the present.

I’m finding out the hard way that refraining from multitasking is one of the most effective strategies to enhance my memory and concentrate. I’m coming to realize that sometimes I just don’t focus.

If I don’t pay attention to which project I am working on, I’m going to have trouble. I’m not doing so well at multitasking these days.

Actually, “Multitasking is almost always a misnomer, as the human mind and brain lack the architecture to perform two or more tasks simultaneously.”

rich body of research in psychological science has documented that the behavioral costs of task switching are typically unavoidable: individuals almost always take longer to complete a task and do so with more errors when switching between tasks than when they stay with one task.

According to The American Psychological Association:

switch cost is a reduction in successful performance that results from shifting between tasks. This means identifying a task goal, selecting relevant information, and disregarding irrelevant information that does not help us to achieve the goal. In the context of multitasking, we know that the brain has a hard time processing and completing two or more tasks at once: the inherent ways the dorsal and ventral attention systems interact with the frontoparietal control network make this so.

Basically, I’m short-circuiting the performance of my own brain.

To make matters worse, lighter, intermediate, and heavier media multitasking increases impulsivity. For me, that means that my normal “distractible” state amps up to “high distractible.” That’s not a great characteristic when it comes to developing relationships.

A price to pay

We pay a price for multitasking—we put more strain on these systems and usually experience some performance loss. The interference interferes with the brain’s capacity to make effective use of its resources by upsetting the normal flow of thought.

When multitasking under time constraints, stress levels are frequently raised, which causes the stress hormone cortisol to rise. People who are subjected to high performance demands for an extended period of time may get emotionally and physically exhausted.

The takeaway for me

I will avoid multitasking if the work I am doing is important(P0).

Excuse me while I search for my keys. I could have sworn I left them on the table.

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