Multi-Tasking vs Single Tasking

M.A, Psychology
Clinical psychologist
@Islaah Center for Psychological Wellness

We have noticed our mothers doing it and always thought it’s her way of working or that is how a mother is supposed to function. Woman juggles with tasks like cooking, washing the laundry, cleaning the dishes and watching TV all at the same time. This is multi-tasking.

Every one of us engage in multi-tasking which means doing a variety of different things at the same time. But do you know that our brain is designed to focus on only one task at a time. Experts believe that what we are doing while multi- tasking is actually task switching. Instead of focusing on doing each task at a time we switch quickly and repeatedly between different tasks. This may take its toll on our brain. It is seen that multi taskers are ineffective at the task they take on, rather than being more productive. Our brains have limited capacity to process information, the more we split our processing capacity the less productive we will be. It doesn’t save any time either.

Studies have shown that while studying, if one gets distracted by other things it may result in lower levels of comprehension, retention and application of the learnt material. Multi-tasking can even be dangerous at times, For instance – texting or talking on phone while driving may lead to a deadly accident.

On the other hand single tasking ensures productivity and conserves energy. Brain is the most energy consuming part of our body, therefore when we single task we wholly direct our attention to the task at hand. Single tasking helps us to genuinely commit to execute work with excellence. As we are focused and concentrated on only the task at hand, we do not give importance to distractions which results in self-control and self-discipline.

Single tasking is a food to increase your attention span. Completing a task on hand in time can make you happier and content and motivate you to excel in everything that you do. Finally, single-tasking is a huge advantage –It is one of those remarkable skills that can positively impact nearly every part of our daily lives.