Although technology allows us to do tasks more quickly, many students feel that they still don't have enough time in the day to get everything done. One coping strategy is multitasking.
But does multitasking really help us accomplish more in a day? Research suggests that multitasking may be useful for simple tasks but may actually hinder our performance for complex tasks. This explains why so many accidents result from people who attempt to drive while they are eating, talking on the phone, reading, or even grooming. Multitasking will also be less effective if you try to study while watching television or listening to music (with some exceptions, such as classical music).
Multitasking may also not be useful if you are trying to have an important conversation with someone. Not only will you miss important information, but the other person will likely feel as though you are not paying attention.
Multitasking may not be useful while eating. Because your attention is divided, you may not be fully aware of satiety signals and therefore eat more than your body needs. Also, eating will doing other activities reduces our ability to actually enjoy the taste, smell, and experience of eating.
So, the next time you try to do several things at once, take a minute to decide whether the task is one that requires your full attention to maximize both your performance and your enjoyment.