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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Women have always been thought to have exceptional multitasking abilities. After all, we are often forced to balance tending to our children with tending to household duties and careers. That's a whole lot to handle, but we do a pretty good job at making sure everything is squared away.
Even if you're not a mother or a female, you still likely multitask to some extent. We are surrounded by technologies that almost cater to multitasking. We have the ability to open up multiple “tabs” on Firefox or Safari so we can do many things at once while online. We can talk on our iPhones while texting and browsing the net.
We may think we're really good at this because while we are doing it, it truly seems like we're getting a lot done. But apparently, all that multitasking is not good for your brain.
Researchers have determined that our brains are not actually capable of multitasking. In fact, our brains can really only focus on one thing at a time. That means when we are "multitasking," we're actually only paying attention to one thing at a time, and may not be performing at our best. That's why laws have been formed to prevent people from driving while talking on the phone, because in reality, we cannot focus on doing the two things at the same time.
"Something's got to give," says David E. Meyer, Ph.D., director of the Brain, Cognition, and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan. "Either your cell phone conversation will suffer or your driving will suffer."
Meyer has published a study that says people are less efficient when they multitask. That means it takes more time to complete one of the tasks if you're trying to complete many at once. You'd be better off focusing solely on one thing if you want to be as efficient as possible.
So next time you hear someone bragging about their ability to multitask, or next time you're thinking about multitasking, remember that no one is truly able to master it. We have complex brains capable of wondrous feats, but one thing our brain isn't able to do is multitask.
Still, I think women may be a little better at the whole pseudo-multitasking act…