Waste Time or Save Time? The Multitasking Myth

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Do you suffer from "scattered brain syndrome"? Learn why multitasking is bad for your health.
Air Date: 6/10/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Devora Zack, Author
Devora Zack is author of the newly published, Singletasking (Berrett-Koehler 2015), as well as the internationally released, award-winning, Networking for People Who Hate Networking (Berrett-Koehler 2010) and Managing for People Who Hate Managing (Berrett-Koehler 2012). She is CEO of Only Connect Consulting, Inc. (OCC), providing leadership programs to 100+ clients.

Ms. Zack has keynoted for Smithsonian, National Institute of Health, John Deere, U.S. Department of Energy, Urban Land Institute, National Association for Women Business Owners, Treasury Executive Institute, and Mensa International.

She serves as visiting faculty for Cornell University’s business school, teaching leadership and networking to international MBAs. She has been invited twice to tour Australia by the Australian Institute of Management. Additional sample clients include London Business School, Deloitte, America Online, U.S. Department of Education, and TSA.
  • Book Title: Singletasking: Get More Done, One Thing at a Time
  • Guest Twitter Account: @devora_zack
Waste Time or Save Time? The Multitasking Myth
Related Article
It's not hard to notice... people in our society are getting busier and busier, whether with work and career, family, friends or simply life.

You might think to yourself, "The more I can get done at once, the better." That's what people typically consider multitasking. 

According to author, key-note speaker and consultant, Devora Zack, multi-tasking is a myth.

The brain is hard-wired to only do one thing at a time. What you're really doing is task-switching; your brain rapidly moves back and forth between tasks.

Unfortunately, action does not equal results. If you're constantly switching between tasks, you're 90 percent less likely to improve relationships, 40 percent less productive in your work, and you're actually lowering your IQ. 

Now, you might think that age has something to do with your ability to do more than one thing at once. Take our youth, for example. They're used to being around technology all the time, so they're constantly doing more than one thing. But, they're still not multitasking.

Not only does multitasking cause you to make mistakes often, but it's also harming your memory. The gray matter in your brain actually shrinks when you multitask. Given that, it's clear that you're not saving time but rather creating extra work for yourself. 

Plus, constantly being distracted with tasks causes you to be unintentionally disrespectful to the people around you. When was the last time you had a one-on-one conversation where you didn't look at your phone a few times or made a mental grocery list in your head?

While it's not easy to give up, Zack says that you can take control and begin to singletask instead.

What does that mean? Singletasking is giving your complete and full attention to the task or person in front of you. Make decisions, and stick to them.

Singletasking is about reigning in your brain and regaining control. It's imperative for overcoming "scattered brain syndrome," where there is a complete disconnect between your brain and your body.

Ask yourself, wherever you are (work, in line at grocery store, on the subway), "is my brain where my body is?" If the answer is no, bring your brain back to focus. 

You also need to learn to manage your environment. Everyone is constantly bombarded by technology, news, media, etc., but you can learn to combat these distractions.

Remember, multitasking exists when two or more things are competing for attention. So, for instance, running and listening to music is not considered multitasking, because one is essentially on "auto pilot."

By regaining focus, you can start to learn to overcome the distractions and actually improve productivity, relationships, and your overall well-being.

In the accompanying audio segment, Devora Zack joins Naturally Savvy hosts Andrea Donsky and Lisa Davis to discuss why multitasking is a myth, as well as what singletasking is and how it can improve your life.
Sylvia Anderson

Originally from Minnesota, Sylvia moved to California for the sun, sand and warm temperatures. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English and Communications, both of which she has put to good use in her work with RadioMD as Senior Editor.