Friday, 17 September, 2021

In Praise Of Multitasking

Bini Dahal

As I sit to write this piece, my web surfer has two extra tabs opened. One contains slides for the next day’s exam and the other has YouTube blaring foreign songs. If you have got a hint of my habit, that is right because I am a multitasker.
While others consider focusing on one task at a time as a sign of productivity, my idea of productivity is completely different. I feel highly productive, accomplished and my confidence doubles up only when completing multiple tasks in a single day. The irony is that I am aware of this and feel it is a very bad habit that I have picked.
But what can be even done? Today’s world is all about being proficient in every work possible. Everyone wants to get things done fast. People have adapted to fast food, fast hands and fast minds. Focusing on a single task is surely wonderful but this way I will not finish even one task. So, this is a reality check for not just me but millions of others with the same experience. The extra release of dopamine just pushes them to continue further. While few master to juggle between them, there are many who miserably fail.
Researchers have shown how switching between tasks can trigger a mixture of sadness and fear. It has also been linked with damaging the brain, reducing productivity by up to 40 per cent and making people less efficient. Unlike the negative impacts, one positive point of multitasking is that it can increase creativity in people. How? When a person gets involved in multitasking, the brain demands for more cognitive resources such as attention and working memory. Once our brain achieves a higher level of activation, it can use that extra energy in different ways because of cognitive flexibility. Research among students has shown how multitasking students brought more creative ideas to the table. Activation and cognitive flexibility led to greater creativity.
Obviously, all tasks cannot be performed in a multitasking mode, but keeping a perfect balance between the tasks is undeniable. For me, when I jam to songs and write anything, I feel more creative and work with better flow. It gives me contentment for what I have done.
In today’s world, our busy schedules make tasks burdensome. Some form of multitasking and switching between two or more tasks can make us feel fresh and give us more ideas when we are stuck without any ideas.
I really want to continue defending myself saying multitasking is for happiness and good hormones. But research points to more negative impacts than good ones. Thankfully, I get to flaunt the single most positive point of multitasking: creativity. I am hopeful to see a streak of creativity here and there. However, the negative points of the research have made me want to experience the true joy of concentrated productivity.
So, I might have to stop my quest for becoming creative through multitasking. As I end my article while listening to the 17th song on YouTube playlist, I promise to use this newfound knowledge in the upcoming days. Let me be proud for the last time for being a multitasker!