6 Evidence-Based Ways Multitasking Harms Your Health

Chances are, you’re reading this article while doing other tasks. Unfortunately, that will likely make it harder for you to absorb and retain the information below.

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t increase efficiency. In fact, research shows it can reduce productivity and have a negative effect on your health.

Furthermore, only 2.5 percent of the population is able to multitask effectively, according to research. The rest of us can only do one task at a time.

What we consider multitasking is usually doing different activities in rapid succession, but multitasking doesn’t have to involve different movements at the same time. Even passive activities, like listening to music, can have a negative effect.

6 Evidence-Based Ways Multitasking Harms Your Health

How Multitasking Harms Your Health

These are some of the surprising ways multitasking may be ruining your health.

1. Chronic Stress

Multiple tasks and deadlines can be stressing, but trying to finish all tasks at once doesn’t help. It can actually increase your stress levels. In this study, participants who performed tasks while being interrupted by themselves or others experienced more stress.

You’re better off doing one task at a time. Sometimes alternating tasks can actually slow you down and lead to more frustration.

2. Lower Mental Performance

Working on your work project while watching TV and using the phone can lower your mental performance. This was proven by a study on chronic media multitaskers, which found they had reduced short-term and long-term memory.

You may also want to avoid being around people who multitask. According to research, seeing someone multitask can lower your comprehension by 17 percent.

3. Brain Changes

You probably already know of habits that trigger positive physical changes in your brain, such as meditation. Sadly, multitasking does the opposite. One study found that there was a link between higher media multitasking and smaller grey matter density.

Decreased gray matter can be problematic for youth and adults. It can lead to poor memory and an increased risk of some types of dementia.

4. Weight Gain

Have you ever wondered why nutrition experts advocate for mindfulness while eating? The reason is simple. You’re less likely to overeat if you avoid distractions while eating. Research has proven that people consume more calories when they multitask during meals.

Avoiding distractions while eating won’t just help you avoid overeating in one meal. This study found that people ate less later in the day when they paid attention to their meals.

5. Anxiety and Depression

Some people react to anxiety and depression by trying to do everything at once, while others avoid doing any task. Neither is healthy, and both can worsen your condition. For instance, this study shows that multitasking can worsen anxiety and depression.

When your workload seems overwhelming, the best solution is to complete one task at a time. Finishing a task may put you at ease, because you’ll feel like you’re making progress.

6. Dampened Creativity

You may want to avoid multitasking, if your job requires creativity. Multitasking uses up your “working memory”, which consequently reduces your ability to think creatively, research shows.

Has multitasking harmed your health in any way? Share your experience in the comments.

48 comments

Julie W
Julie W26 days ago

Mothers of young children have always multi-tasked!

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Sharonsick R
Sharon R27 days ago

Women multitask all the time. I find music actually have a positive affect on my mood. Thanks for sharing.

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Glennis W
Glennis W27 days ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W27 days ago

Great info Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W27 days ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W27 days ago

interesting Thank you for caring and sharing

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD28 days ago

tyfs

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn28 days ago

Noted

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Debbi W
Debbi W28 days ago

If you don't multitask it will take you forever to get things done.

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Ruth R
Ruth R28 days ago

You can't multitask as you get older, thankfully.

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