We all do it. While driving down the street, we answer our cell phones, talk to the children in the back seat and change the station on the radio. Perhaps we don’t think much about doing all these tasks concurrently, but we clearly believe that we are adept at multitasking, believing this to be an effective use of time and energy.

Some of us actually feel a real sense of accomplishment when multitasking, believing it is an impressive feat to be able to perform various tasks all at the same time. But, are we really more proficient when we multitask, or are we just fooling ourselves into believing we are superhuman?

Current research conducted by Michigan psychologist David Meyer may surprise you. His research suggests that those who multitask don’t really accomplish more. On the contrary, it indicates that multitasking slows down our ability to perform activities. His study notes:

But with so much to do in our harried lives, how can we get everything done if we don’t multitask? Perhaps, the answer to the question is complex in general. First of all, do we really have to accomplish so many things in our daily lives or are we making them impossible to balance? Are we making things better, or are we just creating lives that are out of control?

Research indicates we are doing the latter—we are spinning out of control and lowering our performance and enjoyment. The more we put on our plates, the less we seem to enjoy. The pressure increases our level of anxiety, and we tend to feel internal pressures, creating depression or guilt. Some people tend to become angrier because they have no natural means of relaxing from tension- filled schedules and expectations. Our bodies were clearly not meant to be running in different directions, resulting in physical and mental consequences.

Some of you will say that you just can’t slow down. If you decide that you want to continue multitasking, here are some simple suggestions which can help you concentrate and raise your performance and accuracy:

Most importantly, remember that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Slow down and try to “be” with whatever you are doing “in the moment.” You will notice a great reward in that simple practice. TPW