The Myth of Multitasking


Multitasking//Allison Yeomans

Allison Yeomans

As the amount of work needing completion increases, many people result to multitasking to alleviate the load; however, multitasking does not always increase productivity.

According to Psychology Today, recent developments in neuroscience prove that while the brain may switch tasks easily, it does not necessarily process tasks simultaneously. Every time the brain switches tasks, there is a start/stop process that decreases efficiency and increases the amount of mistakes one can make.  

As suggested by, consider texting while driving: many people would never even think of doing this, as one’s focus shifts more towards one of the activities. If one texts while he or she is driving, his or her driving is affected because not all of his or her focus is put on driving. 

The same thing happens when one is multitasking. If one is doing more than one activity at once, neither of the activities are receiving one’s full effort or attention. Therefore, the tasks are not completed to best of one’s abilities. As stated by Mary-Ellen Anderson, student support specialist, one’s end product can be of “lesser quality, miss important points, and not be as good at all the tasks.”

Experts at the American Psychology Association have estimated that switching between tasks can cause a 40 percent loss in productivity. Working on two different tasks at once divides the brain, which increases stress, which in turn leads to more errors for one’s work. According to Casey Guidera, senior, “whenever I try to multitask, I notice that I am not putting 100 percent of my effort into each task.”

Furthermore, in a 2001 study by Joshua Rubinstein, PhD, Jeffrey Evans, PhD, and David Meyer, PhD, they conducted that young adults, and adults in general, lose time when switching tasks. When the tasks got more complex, more time was lost.  

Lindsay Bucklin, senior, said that when she multitasks, she “ends up losing more time than doing each task individually.”