Take a moment and think about all the things that you are doing right at this moment. The chances are that you are reading this and thinking about a few other things. Perhaps you’re listening to music, texting a friend, standing in a line, or waiting for the coffee machine to make your coffee. In this week’s blog post, I am explaining how multitasking affects productivity and brain health.
Doesn’t it appear like an excellent thing to multitask? Perhaps it seems efficient, but researchers have shown otherwise. In fact, our brains aren’t nearly as efficient as they could be, and brain productivity drops a chocking 40% when multitasking. So then the next question is, why is multitasking such a killer when it comes to productivity? Because you are shifting your attention and focus between many tasks. Another word for it is a distraction; having multiple things to think about is causing mental blocks that slow you down.
Now, let’s kill the strongest argument for why multitasking is a surpassing way to get things done. “If I can do two or more things at the same time, I will get them done faster.” However, the chances are that you probably aren’t as efficient as you could be. In several studies, participants showed to be slower at completing the tasks when they got complex because of the switch between different tasks. The participants felt like they had to repeat tasks when they got complex to complete them, and that is where they lost time & efficiency.
How do you stop multitasking?
1. Be present and know your goal very clearly.
2. Make a list and complete the tasks accordingly, complete a task before you continue on to the next one.
3. Schedule breaks, stand up, move your body and get the blood flow going at least two times an hour.
How does this help your sport?
If you know how to focus on one thing at a time, you will be present in the play that you are in at this very moment. What you do outside of the court will present itself on the court. Show control of your thoughts and actions off the court, and that will follow on the court.
However, multitasking isn’t always bad. For example, when in a play, you might hear your teammates scream one thing, and your coach another while you are trying to play defense on the best player on the opposing team. If you are good at processing and filtering the information that you are getting, seeing, feeling, and hearing in splits of a second, you will be more likely to make the best decision on the court at that moment.
Until next week, reflect. When do you think that multitasking is beneficial for you, and when do you believe it is holding you back?