Multitasking article summary
Multitasking might seem like a useful task in this day and age where everything happens so quickly and the use of electronic devices such as computers can aid us in doing many things at once. Studies show that teens use more than six types of media simultaneously (Sparks). The ability to do many things at once might seem super useful in this day and age but in actuality multitasking won't be of any benefit. The key thing is, is that no one can put 100% of their concentration on more than one thing, so say if someone is driving and they answer a phone call, as according to Forbes writer Sarah Sparks “the brain cannot be in two places at once,” as such their attention to both tasks must be split between the two, lowering reaction time and causing them to miss things that they otherwise would have noticed (Sparks). In the case of other assignments, when multitasking it’s much easier to become distracted which will cause one to perform slower in actuality, opposed to speeding them up as what might be originally thought. Another key attribute is that multitasking impacts one's ability to pay attention in other scenarios even when not multitasking and also impacts their overall ability to remember things because their brain gets so used to having secondary information right at hand, or in view (Sparks). So when that is removed it becomes harder for one to remember it. Furthermore, it is only possible for the brain to handle one choice at any given time. When doing more than one thing that requires a choice the later choices are delayed while the current one is made, now while normally this delay is very short, less than a second, it is possible for the delay to be much longer when taking into account other distractions or the size and complexity of the choices in question. Another big part of multitasking relies on the ability of self-control, which the famous marshmallow test touched on. In that test multiple kid’s self-control were tested. Those that could maintain self-control were better rewarded, those that lacked self-control were not as rewarded. In the same vein as multitasking, someone’s ability of self-control dictates their ability to control their focus on one goal, and by doing so, they can accomplish more, and be thus be more successful in the long run, as the marshmallow test showed.
Now personally, I’m a big fan of trying too many things at one time for better or for worse, especially during the time I have free from any required work. One of the key things that I do basically every day when at home is sit at my desk on my computer with at least three things running at all times. I might be switching between watching a YouTube or Netflix video and browsing forum based sites such as Reddit while also running a game, as generally during any loading periods or downtime where nothing happens I would switch over to browsing the internet. I also tend to be texting or talking to one of my, or a group of my, friends throughout the day. That being said outside of time that I have free to do whatever I consider myself to be fairly good at controlling my attention as , for the most part, whenever I do switch my attention over to something else its because whatever I was doing previously has entered a period of downtime where nothing was happening anyway.
Sparks, Sarah D. "Studies on Multitasking Highlight Value of Self-Control." Education Week. 15 May 2012. Web. 09 Nov. 2015. <http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/16/31multitasking_ep.h31.html?tkn=PTWFGpBwR5o7bKrnCvQZswL8Vr%2BlUoJB%2B62c&cmp=clp-edweek>.