If you’re multitasking, know how it can affect your mental health

Published on: 1 May 2022, 12:00 pm IST
Multitasking can be a great way to accomplish multiple tasks at a time. However, it's harmful and can even result in certain problems.
Aayushi Gupta
Time management is all about setting realistic goals and right priorities. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Multitasking is a reality in the urban lifestyle. We perform multiple tasks together at some point or the other. Well, most of us start multitasking out of worry, thinking that it will keep us focused and the work in flow. However, unlike the popular belief that multitasking helps to maximize productivity, it actually can cause more harm than good.

According to a study published by Stanford University, multitasking can take a toll on your mental health and add stress to your daily life, harming your productivity, motivation, mood, and many more.

So, we need to break out of this multitasking habit because it can just be dangerous for our health. To find out the negative impact of multitasking or reasons why one should reduce multitasking, Health Shots spoke to Dr Sanjay Kumavat, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

What are the disadvantages of multitasking?

Dr Kumavat says, “Doing multiple tasks at the same time is called multitasking. This results in a division of attention that can sometimes result in confusion, stress, and anxiety.”

Work at your pace. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some major reasons to quit multitasking habit:

1. Multitasking affects your quality of work

Overall, multitasking leads to frustration due to incomplete tasks, and at the end of the day, it affects a person’s overall performance. In other words, it affects the quality of work and personal skills of an individual.

Moreover, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago, multitasking can take away your ability to work or think creatively.

2. Multitasking can increase your stress

Multitasking isn’t just inefficient and affects your quality of work, but it’s stressful. It’s because when you perform many tasks at one time, your brain continuously switches between tasks. This increases the chances of mistakes and errors at work and can result in high stress and anxiety levels. And when you’re stressed, you can even lose your focus and calm, creating a constant state of stress and anxiety.

3. Multitasking makes us less productive

Generally, people think multitasking can boost their level of productivity. However, the reality is opposite! It can sometimes make us fail at simple tasks as, due to distraction, it becomes challenging to concentrate, which affects the normal speed of our work and therefore impacts the quality of the task at hand. In fact, rapid shifting from one thing to another makes you ineffective and affects your mood and motivation.

Stop multitasking and your productivity will increase. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Multitasking kills focus

When you try to multitask your creativity and innovation are hindered because you don’t focus on one thing long enough to come up with something original. Constant practice of multitasking can kill focus because your brain quickly tunes out with anything that you practice on a regular basis. Slowly and gradually, it will become harder to focus on anything and can result in poor performance in regular day-to-day activities.

5. Multitasking causes memory problems

It can also result in a person forgetting to prioritize their work, which can also lead to procrastination at a later stage. To give a simple example, if many windows are open on a computer, the entire system will slow down. The same thing happens when a person keeps multitasking continuously.

A study published in the University Of California San Francisco (UCSF) reveals that multitasking negativity affects memory in both young and older adults.

6. Multitasking leads to less interaction with living beings

How many times a day do you check your phone? You don’t even remember it, I guess. The worst side effect is that isolation from the world because you may be so involved in your work that you may even forget what is happening around you and your loved ones. The important aspect of human contact is lost in multitasking. Only connecting with people around you and staying connected with family and friends can give you a sense of fulfillment and living.

Isolation can take a toll on you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. Multitasking can be fatal in the long run

Performing multiple tasks at one time it’s fine but constant practice is harmful. It can do more harm than any good. It is hazardous to your overall health because it can increase your work timings which can result in high levels of stress. And stress is your health’s enemy. If you’re struggling to complete your daily tasks do not try to work on several things together instead make a plan and follow it.

So, try to be more organised when it comes to work. Design your work time, set time for breaks, plan your day in advance and follow the plan only, to achieve work and personal life balance.

Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.

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