We are currently living in a world where there is a debate between mindfulness or multitasking. Which is better? As a hectic society that is always on the go, some would argue that the ability to multitask is much better than mindfulness. On the other hand, because of our hectic society, there is an argument for mindfulness.
We can’t blame anyone in the throes of this debate as most people tend to be prideful of their ability to carry out multiple tasks at once. For example, a standard evening might look like this: cooking dinner, walking in place to get more steps in as well as checking email updates on a project from work along with checking kids’ homework for the evening. It would appear as though multitasking is the way to get ahead, and who can blame that way of thought?
When posed, the question of which is more efficient between mindfulness and multitasking, most will say multitasking because they believe the more they can do at once, the more efficient they are. However, is that truly the case?
Let’s find out.
What is Multitasking? And Should You do it?
To multitask is the ability to perform more than one task at the same time. If you become efficient at two tasks and perform them at the same time, you can rapidly shift your attention from one to the other without making mistakes.
Though multitasking may seem like the ideal solution to getting things done, research has shown that our brains aren’t as good at handling multiple things at once like we might have thought. There is some research that would suggest that productivity is reduced by 40% when attempting to do too much at once.
The prefrontal cortex of your brain is the portion that gets to work when you are focused on something. It works by coordinating with other parts of your brain to get things done. When working on a single task, your prefrontal cortex has both sides of it working in harmony.
However, if you are working on more than one task, the attention of the prefrontal cortex and other parts of your brain is distracted. There is additional research that suggests that multitasking declines your IQ similarly to pulling an all-nighter. What this means is, multitasking affects your brain’s ability to be efficient.
What is Mindfulness? And Should You Try it?
Mindfulness means establishing a moment by moment awareness of everything that is going on in and around you. It is being in the present and taking in emotions, thoughts, sounds, sensations, and everything in your surrounding environment. What mindfulness meditation involves is the acceptance of your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
There are many good reasons as to why you should practice mindfulness in your daily lives. Being mindful will help you to establish and increase positive emotions, make you more aware of what is going on in and around you. By practicing mindfulness training, you will have more clarity and can achieve more because of less “brain clutter” hindering your progress.
Since our minds tend to wander all the time, and that reduces productivity, the ability to practice being mindful is beneficial because it will help establish a clearer mind that is focused and not filled with stress hormones. To accomplish tasks, you want to have a clear mind that is free from clutter so that you can do the task to the best of your ability.
Which is more effective? Mindfully tackling tasks or Multitasking? You decide!
Which is Greater? Mindfulness or Multitasking?
The age-old question when dealing with many different tasks at once is you should tackle them by multitasking or by practicing mindfulness. Since the name of our modern world game is to fit as much as you can into one day, the apparent answer is multitasking. But is it?
Imagine this, and you just sit at your computer to get some work done, you look at your emails, check your to-do list and check your calendar where you see your meeting will be starting in a half-hour as you juggle to see what you can get done in that half-hour, your find yourself helping a client. Then your meeting and onto other stuff. The next time you look at the time, the day is half over, and you are feeling burnt.
What you are feeling is brain fatigue—otherwise known as decision fatigue. What this is a sign of is that you desperately need to give your brain a break. There is so much to do, so you think that your best course of action is to keep pushing through. That isn’t healthy for you, nor productive for whatever you are trying to get done.
How to tell which is greater than the other?
When you are faced with what feels like a million decisions in a day, multitasking is the typical go-to behavior. However, when a study was conducted to see who gets things done best and accurately, you may find out you are doing it all wrong.
The control group was asked to accomplish tasks in a one at a time sequence. The test groups were asked to complete the same tasks in no particular order or style. The test group immediately tried to get things done at the same time. At the end of the study, the group that slowed down and did the tasks one after the other ended up being more productive because they were mindful of what they were doing.
When practicing being mindful over multitasking, you can get things done effectively and faster because your mind is focused on one thing at a time. Your mind works optimally when it is focused on one task at a time. Mindfulness over multitasking will not only help you do greater in your work, but you will feel more accomplished by the end of the day.
Being mindful helps you to be aware and conscious of what you are doing. Being present in the moment and focusing on what you are doing. Practicing being mindful at work and at home provides you many advantages that you can benefit from. However, be careful to create boundaries that will ensure you are not giving more attention to work and less attention at home.
In today’s hectic style of work, it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of doing too much at once. When you slow down and focus on mindfulness over multitasking, you are more likely to be happy with the work you got done because it was done correctly and efficiently.
Not only will you be happier with your work, but you will find that your work and life balance will be more in tune when you have everything in hand. By taking control through being mindful, you are improving your overall quality of life.
Maybe the ultimate trick to getting through a hectic society is to slow down, and not speed up.
What do you think?