Multitasking is the "ability" to perform more than one task or activity at the same time.
In reality, the brain is incapable of performing multiple tasks simultaneously. It cannot truly multitask. Reference
What you're doing is quickly shifting your attention and focus from one thing to the next.
It isn't good for productivity. Some researches suggest that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.
- Distractions happen more easily when you switch from one task to another.
- Cause mental blocks.
- More predisposed to errors.
Even people who consider themselves heavy multitaskers are not very good at multitasking (reference).
- Those people were worse at sorting out relevant information from irrelevant details.
- The most frightening results happened when multitaskers weren't multitasking. When chronic multitaskers were focusing on a single task, their brains were less effective and efficient.
On the other hand, multitaskers who use more than one form of media or type of technology at once perform better at integrating visual and auditory information (multisensory integration) (reference).
How to minimize the negative consequences of multitasking?
Which kind of tasks or profession multitaskers performs better?
- Wikipedia. Human multitasking
- Kendra Cherry. How Multitasking Affects Productivity and Brain Health
- Jory MacKay. Context switching: Why jumping between tasks is killing your productivity (and what you can do about it)