Recently while listening to talk radio, a speaker made two statements that multi-tasking, actually first of all, makes things take longer, and second, destroys brain cells in the frontal lobe of the brain. Not one to just hear something and accept it, I looked for articles on the Internet. Which then led me to research because not everything you read on the Internet is true. So here is what I found out.
The ability to multi-task is done by the executive part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. When we stress that part of the brain out by overload, it causes damage to the cells in the hippocampus which is where new memories are formed. So being stressed from overload causes forgetfulness, stress, and depression. Actually the articles I read said excessive multi-tasking is causing more problems than it’s solving AND it goes on to say that it actually takes us longer to get things done because we keep stopping what we are doing to do something else. Multi-tasking has also shown in studies to cause a person’s creativity to slow way down. So workers get into a “mode” of just doing what they have to do to get by. This means, free thinking goes away as we try to hurry through our tasks.
I learned two things that weren’t good for my lifestyle, actually three things. Here they are:
1. That I have a part in my body that has a name like hippocampus, which brings a visual of hippos communing and for any woman that is a freaky thought.
2. That all this time I thought multi-tasking was actually saving time and instead it was only serving to stress me out. I had this idea that I was so efficient and now I find that it’s no wonder that I was feeling frustrated.
3. That my forgetfulness isn’t because I’m 45 and a woman, but rather that I am on work overload.
That being said I am going to have to change some things in my life. I am going to have to take one project at a time and not get side-tracked. It seems like a daunting task. Multi-tasking is such a way of life.
My biggest question is we’ve raised our children on this mode of operation so how are we going to change this? Kids can listen to an ipod, text on the phone, chew gum, do their homework and ignore you all at the same time. Now we are going to have to tell them to slow down. Can you imagine this? We could actually a change a culture and slow down a pace that would bring us back to a more relaxing time in America. What could it be like to only do one thing at a time? One can only dream!