Are you a media multitasker? I am willing to bet that most of you reading this would answer yes to this question. I admit that I’m a multitasker. Media multitaskers often find themselves searching the web while texting, tweeting, and/or instant messaging. Kids are true pros at media multitasking. Many kids watch TV, carry on several conversations via texting or instant messages, and do their homework at the same time. Most of us multitaskers think that we are getting more done when I am doing more than one thing at the same time.
Unfortunately, those of us who media multitask may be in trouble. Research from Stanford University indicates that heavy multitaskers didn’t do as well as light multitaskers on several tasks. One task they studied involved identifying the position of red triangles mixed among blue triangles. The low multitaskers did well and were able to ignore the blue triangles. The high multitaskers were so distracted by the blue triangles that they performed terribly. Another test looked at memory. Again the heavy multitaskers performed poorly compared to the low multitaskers. A third test was designed to look at subject’s ability to switch attention quickly. The heavy multitaskers yet again did not do as well as the light multitaskers.
Bottom line – this research showed that heavy multitaskers don’t filter out irrelevant information, organize memories, or switch attention from one thing to another well. This suggests that heavy multitaskers need to slow down and focus on fewer things at once - we would be more productive.
Right now I am writing this post, listening to a podcast and monitoring twitter and Facebook chatter. Oops! I better slow down and focus on one thing at a time. It will definitely take some effort to break this habit. If you are having trouble breaking the habit, you might try Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to boost your efforts.
How about you? Are you a media multitasker? Do you think it hinders your productivity?