From: Harvard Business Review

The Curious Science of When Multitasking Works

Harvard Business Review:

Trying to do two things at once is usually a recipe for doing both badly, according to a long line of research. We’re slower and less accurate when we try to juggle two things. Experts came to believe that there wasn’t much that could be done about this, so most of the advice in HBR has been to avoid multitasking as much as possible.

But if giving up multitasking isn’t an option, a new study  published in in Psychological Science offers some hope: your ability to multitask may depend on whether you were trained to do the two tasks separately or simultaneously.

The first thing to know about multitasking is that the word is a misnomer. You’re not really doing two things at once so much as rapidly switching back and forth between them. That switching process is mentally taxing — your brain has to recall the instructions for how to do one task, then put them aside and recall the instructions for how to do the other, then repeat the whole thing again — and so the result is poor performance on both.

Read the whole story: Harvard Business Review

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