You may have applied to a job that values “multitasking,” but the latest research tells us that regularly switching between work, email, and social media can kill focus and lead to a sense of anxiety. Even worse, we can train our brain to crave interruptions.
While working on this post I even had to close my email tab because checking email has become a regular habit. Researchers suggest that we need regular breaks away from our screens in order to recharge and set aside focused time to address email and social media without constantly interrupting our days.
“When we attempt to multitask, we don’t actually do more than one activity at once, but quickly switch between them. And this switching is exhausting. It uses up oxygenated glucose in the brain, running down the same fuel that’s needed to focus on a task.”
“Gloria Mark, professor in the department of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, says that when people are interrupted, it typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to their work, and most people will do two intervening tasks before going back to their original project. This switching leads to a build up of stress…”
“The solution is to give up on multitasking and set aside dedicated chunks of time for each separate activity. So only check your email first thing in the morning and again at midday, or set aside 10 minutes per afternoon for Twitter.”
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