In the fast paced modern world many people find themselves taking on a number of things all at once. Bernardo Chua wonders: is multitasking really an efficient way to get everything done? More on Chua can be found on his Tumblr page. Multitasking can actually raise our stress leading to a higher production of cortisol and adrenaline which can send our brains into overdrive and do more harm than good.
Elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline can wreak havoc on our bodies. When stress occurs, our adrenaline levels go up allowing us to fight or flee. It’s a basic process wired into our DNA but when our bodies produce prolonged levels of cortisol and adrenaline instead of the short duration they were intended for, it creates a damaging effect and can compromise our health.
Add to that the fact that these hormones can send our brains into overdrive and create mental fog, multitasking can actually impair cognitive performance. Glenn Wilson, a former professor of psychology at Gresham College in London, studied the effects of multitasking and found that when people are trying to concentrate on one task but have other tasks pending it can reduce effective IQ by 10 points.
So in essence shifting from one task to another rapidly actually doesn’t help us. It causes burnout and mental fog. Although we might feel like we’re getting a lot done, in the long run multitasking can actually cause us to get less done, not more.