The Dangers of Multi-Tasking:
Life of the typical 21st century teenager involves constant multi-tasking: texting, doing homework, checking social media, listening to music, watching TV, talking to siblings, eating, etc, all at once. Even though many teens think that their ability to do all of these at once is a good skill to have, multi-tasking in this capacity is actually damaging to your ability to both comprehend and retain information.
While many colleges and careers place a premium on the ability to multi-task, they are not referring to your ability to constantly focus on a multitude of different activities at once. They are referring to your ability to concentrate and direct your attention to one task at a time, give it your entire focus, then switch to a different task and be able to give the same level of singular, pin-point focus you afforded the first assignment.
The Detriments of Multi-tasking:
“We’re not actually keeping a lot of balls in the air like an expert juggler; we’re more like a bad amateur plate spinner, frantically switching from one task to another, ignoring the one that is not right in front of us, but worried it will come crashing down any minute. Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically, multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient.”1
“Multi-tasking is the ultimate empty-caloried brain candy. Instead of reaping the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort, we instead reap empty rewards from completing a thousand little sugar-coated tasks.”1
The idea that our brains work best while multi-tasking is a MYTH. Scientifically, our brains are actually not able to focus on more than one cognitive stimulus at a time. Trying to do so just lessens your focus and concentration for each different activity. 2
1. Find a partner.
2. With your right hand, prepare for a thumb-war.
3. While you are engaging in a thumb war, your left hands will simultaneously play continual games of rock-paper-scissors. Enjoy the challenge!
This simple exercise will prove to you how challenging it is to try to be successful at two tasks simultaneously! It is advised to put your phone down (and turned off) while doing your schoolwork so you can best concentrate on the work at hand. When you finish one subject, give yourself a reward and go check your phone before moving on to your next subject. Repeat as needed!
There will be plenty of time to check social media and respond to texts. Your academics only happen once!