If you’re doing more work on your own and your time is less structured, you might be more tempted to multitask. Many people think they can do multiple things at once. But research shows us that only about 2% of the population can multitask. Even if you feel like you’re multitasking, you’re probably not… really, you’re switching between tasks very quickly (some call this “micro-tasking”).
- Assignments take longer. Each time you come back to an assignment (from Instagram for example), you have to get familiar with it, remember what you were going to do next, etc.
- You’re more likely to make mistakes. Distractions and switching between tasks tires out the brain.
- You’ll remember less. When your brain is divided, you’re less able to commit what you’re learning to long-term memory (because it doesn’t get encoded properly into your brain).
Some things to consider…
- When you need to study something important, consider The Magic of Monotasking
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Take breaks between tasks. Be prepared to adjust the length of your breaks to what works best for you
- Use the “pomodoro method” to help you focus for 25- or 50-minute periods and then reward yourself with 5- or 10-minute breaks
- Physicalize the break by doing some kind of movement, and change the input your brain is receiving. If you take a break from working with a screen by switching to social media, you may feel rewarded but your brain technically has not never stopped working, and you will not refresh your attention span.
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