We recently wrote an article that looked at all the enjoyable ways one could boost their creativity, because we all have felt that moment where nothing seems to pop into our heads right when creative ideas are vital. While writing it, we realized that one of our methods for boosting creativity has such a massive myth behind it that it might be a good idea for us to debunk it down to its core. Multitasking has, for many years, been thought of as an effective way to get work done. However, recently, multiple studies have come to light claiming that there is a multitasking myth, and the truth is the exact opposite. The truth is, multitasking is extremely ineffective for building creativity or finishing tasks altogether. So to debunk the myth, we devised a list of the 5 ways multitasking is detrimental to your work ethic.
- Multi-tasking Doesn’t Exist
- Multitasking Alters Your Brain Chemistry
- Multitasking Dampens Creativity
- Multitasking Leads to More Mistakes Which Slows Progress
- Multitasking Builds Stress
We’re sorry to burst your bubble, but the actual phrase “multitasking” is made up. That’s right, the act of multitasking doesn’t exist because the brain won’t allow it. Instead, what you are doing is rapidly “task switching” because our brains only have a finite amount of attention that can be dedicated to certain tasks. When we task switch, we use up that space and energy in our brains by switching gears to handle the second task. The resulting effect is less attention on certain tasks and ultimately more mistakes and more stress.
What’s worse is that the action known as “task switching” actually severely alters your brain chemistry in multiple ways. Dr. JoAnn Deak, author of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, stated in a keynote speech on brain behavior that “it changes the brain from being able to focus deeply on a single task, to being what we call a rifle, that wants to jump around a lot.” When this happens consistently, the action will start to stimulate the parts of the brain that deal with pleasure, ultimately making activities that do not involve task switching seem boring and uninteresting. This can be extremely detrimental to your work ethic when you have to finish one task in order to move on to the next.
Aside from all the various ways that you can boost your creativity, multi-tasking lessens that amount of space your brain can use for generating creative ideas. What multitasking or “task switching” requires is called “working memory”, which you could also call temporary brain storage. When you multitask, you are using up all of that working memory, which will ultimately lead to less of an ability to think creatively.
Not only does multitasking slow your work down, it will also inevitably lead to more mistakes. In fact, experts estimate that switching between tasks will decrease productivity by 40%. With that amount of errors possible, there’s almost no chance that you won’t be making mistakes!
There’s simply no need for added stress when you’re in the middle of your creative process. Nobody has time for the added stress that will come along with multitasking due to errors, lack of time, and less bandwidth for creativity. Creating from scratch is already stressful enough! Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, tested out this theory by measuring the heart rates of employees with access to constant office email and ones without. They found that the subjects who had access to the email were constantly in a “high-alert” state of mind, which led to a much higher heart rate. Save yourself the trouble and focus on one task at a time.
After you have stopped multitasking, be sure to check out our blog for other strategies on boosting creativity, coming up with better product ideas, or reducing your production costs. And if you’re ready to start the product development process for your new idea, contact us today!