Insight

The Myth of Multi-tasking

The Myth of Multitasking

In many areas, including our reading, we try and "multi-task" in the aim of being more effective, and getting more done in less time.   However, research and anecdotal evidence suggests the contrary.
The term was first coined in an IBM computer manual back in the 1960's, to describe how the computer seemingly accomplished multiple tasks "at the same time".  However, in reality, this is not how it works.  Just like your brain, it rapidly switches between the tasks in rapid succession until each is complete.  So; in the strictest sense of the word, it doesn't actually exist!
3 Reasons Why Multi-Tasking is Counter-Productive 
1.  Wasted Productivity
Unlike a computer, every time your brain wastes energy when toggling between the tasks, in effect "switching gears", which in a study by the APA can lead up to a 40% in productivity.
2.  It's Harder To Remember What You Have Just Done
This one is particularly pertinent to our reading.  Multi-tasking has been proven to have a negative impact on our short-term or "working" memory.  Focus on one thing and it is easier to remember.
3.  Skimming or Reading?
If trying to read whilst doing something else, you end up skimming, or speed-reading as opposed to actually reading and contemplating. Although RISE is about achieving goals, the number of pages read is not as important as the impact of each page.
Prove the power of focus, and commit to one thing at a time - with excellence.