Can Multitasking Kill You?

• Marc

It seems pretty unlikely — although mobile phone usage (especially texting) while driving is indeed a known killer — but there are some remarkable neuroscience studies that demonstrate precisely why multitasking is really quite a bad thing.

In a nutshell, the very act of multitasking creates its own neurological ‘buzz’ that makes it feel rewarding and productive, whereas in reality it can be opposite. But don’t take my word for it, and don’t rely on your own gut reaction or stories from friends. Read what neuorscientist Daniel J. Levitin has to say:

Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.

Even better, look at Levitin’s full article in the Guardian. We thought this would be of interest to our readers because meeting scheduling and management is likely to be one of just dozens of tasks you are engaged in during a busy workday, and you might want to stop and think about marshalling your attention in a focused manner for just one thing.

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