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Are you a chronic multi-tasker; if so are you proud of this? More and more I find that people will say they’re able to multi-task and you can almost discern a sense of pride when they make this statement.  My question is…are they fooling themselves into thinking that  this is a strength?  It’s almost as though a certain mystique surrounds the idea of multi-tasking but maybe that’s really a myth!

Researchers at Stanford University concluded that multi-tasking kills attention span, focus and memory.  These researchers also tell us that thinking we can talk on the phone, send an instant message and read our e-mail all at once, may in fact impair our cognitive control.   That’s nothing to take lightly…in my opinion.

If we’re on our own time, alone, and opt to surf the web and listen to music while watching TV, that’s a personal choice.  It’s quite another story to be at work on a conference call while texting and also answering a colleague’s question who popped in for a visit.  Repeatedly behaving in this fashion causes an overload of the brain’s processing capacity; in essence, our brains simply slow down.  We now know that switching between tasks affects our mental clarity and makes us less efficient. (Source: Professor Earl Miller, neuroscientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology) As if this information wasn’t bad enough, we also increase our level of stress when we multi-task. (Source: Journal of Experimental Psychology)

In each of the examples mentioned (e.g. speaking, on a call, texting, e-mailing, etc.), the common denominator is communication.  The essence of effective communication is concentrating and focusing on the other person or people.  That is the only priority unless of course you opt to multi-task and then you must take responsibility for the ensuing consequences.

If you’re going to do something well, give it 100% and give up the multi-tasking or do so at your own peril. What are your thoughts?

I can’t wait to hear from you.

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