Is Multi-Tasking Making You Stressed AND Stupid?

Multi-taskingPlease excuse the blunt headline however I wanted to grab your attention, and according to a recent study  by the British Institute of Psychiatry it’s true!

The British Institute of Psychiatry found that excessive use of technology reduced workers’ intelligence; and those distracted by incoming e-mail and phone calls saw a 10-point drop in their IQ, over twice the impact of marijuana use!

When we multi-task we lose the power we all know in our lives. A mischievous child may take a magnifying glass and filter sunlight through it, suddenly setting a leaf on fire (or in my case my school skirt!). Many of us lack that laser-like focus with our time, and as a result, we tend to understandably focus on a few areas we KNOW we can succeed in. The challenge is often when one area is thriving, we tend to lose focus in other areas.

For some people, when their career is thriving it’s because that’s where they put the most time, energy and focus. However if you only focus on your career and don’t have it balanced with your body, you’re exhausted and you feel like (and often look like) hell! If you’re focused on your body, sometimes you don’t take enough time with your kids. If you take enough time with your kids, then it’s your personal relationship that’s suffering, and so it goes on!

Even the greatest achievers acknowledge a gap between where they are and where they really want to be. Perhaps our businesses or careers are strong, but our intimate relationships are lacking. Or maybe our relationships are flourishing, but our personal finances, physical vitality, or even our connection with our children is suffering. We all have areas of our lives that demand more focus.

The first step in closing the gap is to figure out where you already are. A map can only guide you to where you want to go if you know your precise starting point.

It’s time to take control and shift your focus.

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10 Comments

  • Mys Palmer

    Reply Reply August 9, 2012

    Emma, love the analogy to a map. A precise starting point is a factor often overlooked. We plan our goals and try to map out a course of action, but rarely specifically define where we currently are. I guess we can chalk that one up to multi-tasking making us stupider eh? I loved the short sweet and direct info you offered us here, our focus needs focus and now we have a starting point!

    • emma_melhuish

      Reply Reply August 10, 2012

      Glad you enjoyed the post – I think in this industry it is very easy to get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing so it is good to make sure you have clear goals and objectives. Best wishes

  • I too love the map analogy. The great thing about maps is you can see alternative routes to take when you need to. I think we all have to be flexible enough to move where we need to go, even if it sometimes isn’t where we set out to go in the first place. when we are multi tasking we can’t always see the wood for the trees.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy@ http://www.mandyallen.com

    • emma_melhuish

      Reply Reply August 14, 2012

      I agree Mandy. I have often found myself trying to do ten things at once and at the end of the day not actually achieving any! It is very easy to get distracted when working online, facebook has a lot to answer for!

  • Elizabeth

    Reply Reply August 11, 2012

    Hi Emma,
    Its really true that with all the technology and development we are actually forced to multi-task and this leaves no room for us to laser-focus.

    • emma_melhuish

      Reply Reply August 14, 2012

      Technology definitely makes it more difficult to stay focused. I have learnt now to only have the web pages open I need to ensure I stay focused which, often means my emails and facebook are closed!

  • George Park

    Reply Reply August 13, 2012

    I don’t believe it is possible to multi task at all, no matter what people say.

    The brain cannot deal with two things at a time, so you switch between the two things very quickly and it feels like you are doing two things at once, BUT, you don’t have that laser focus, like a magnifying glass in the sun.

    • emma_melhuish

      Reply Reply August 14, 2012

      I agree George – you need to focus on the task in hand before moving onto the next. I have found having a daily goals list a great way to keep focused and stay on track 🙂

  • Angus McEwan

    Reply Reply August 14, 2012

    Emma I love this article and the Headline and IQ facts grabbed my attention.

    For me if you are in the industry we are in the priority is to have a balanced life and plenty of breaks and time away from the laptop.

    The things that have helped me with this the most are Gavin Mountford’s 60 60 30 rule and his Results Machine product.

    Angus

  • Steve Walton

    Reply Reply August 22, 2012

    Hi Emma,

    Definitely true, I find having a plan to get to the stage you want to and concentrating on that till you’ve achieved it, then moving on to the next thing works for me. Try to spread yourself and do to much you can become negative and give up. Best to take each thin one at a time and then move forward.

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