How to Do One Thing at a Time

1 January 2017

The article “How to Do One Thing at a Time” states that seemingly harmless multi-tasking isn’t as harmless or efficient as we’d like to believe. A study at Stanford University showed the results of multi-tasking. Two groups of students were asked to coincide chatting, writing a short essay and arranging a music play list all in 30 minutes. One group multi-tasked while the other focused on each task individually for 10 minutes each consequently, in the reading the author states a memory test proved “the single-taskers did significantly better than their multi-tasking peers”.

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Truthfully I knew the single taskers would do better than those multi-tasking, I can easily arrange a play list and chat with friends but not also write an essay. Writing an essay requires someone’s full attention and concentration. I once tried completing two homework’s at once, it was math and writing. I did a couple of math problems and then tried writing a paragraph together, my math problems had the wrong answers and my paragraph had many grammatical errors. This goes to show that our brain works better when we attempt to do one task at a time.

The reading passage also mentions that as result of our brains having limits, when multi-tasking we end up doing neither tasks as well as we should. This goes for household tasks as well, I can only imagine how cooking and cleaning at the same time would turn out. Clifford Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford University quoted “A tremendous amount of evidence shows that the brain does better when its performing tasks in sequence rather than all at once”.

To know that there is evidence that continually shows how ineffective multi-tasking can be and people still try and multi-task daily confirms that multi-tasking has really became something major that everyone does even if the end result isn’t so good. Multi tasking helps get more than one thing done, some see it as a way to get through their day faster, such as drinking coffee and writing an email on their way to work. It’s much faster than finishing the coffee first and then writing the email. I am very bad at multi-tasking so I try to do very little of it.

Imagine listening to your ipod, texting and trying to take out your metro card for the bus. I do this a lot and end up dropping my phone or metro card. I learned my lesson when I dropped my metro card and I had to look for it, I was holding up the line for others to get on the bus. Furthermore, the reading says that “experts believe, however, that it’s possible to repair your power of concentration, through solutions such as yoga and acupuncture, we can break our multi-tasking habit and sharpen our focus”.

In conclusion, multi-tasking doesn’t come out as well as planned. Maybe one day we all can focus on one task at a time rather than trying to complete a variety of them at once. After seeing the results and evidence of multi-tasking hopefully more and more people will try doing it less. But until then, one thing is certain like the article said “multi-tasking is bad for us and we are bad at it”.

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