Why multi-tasking is a mistake

Multi-tasking challenges

If you are constantly juggling and often feel like you have all your balls in the air at once ... STOP! Phil Astley suggests multitasking may be doing you, and your business, more harm than good.

A few years ago, some brainy neuroscientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed just how the human brain is designed to work. Earl Miller used research and observations to reveal to us that we are all wrong in our approach to life. Multitasking, as it turns out, does nothing but destroy our brain and wear us down faster. But, multitasking is an essential part of running a business. Well, here’s why you can’t keep doing everything yourself.

Simple Pleasures

According to these geniuses (or is it genii?) at MIT, our brains don’t work well with small tasks. We might accomplish a small task like sending an email or finalising an invoice. Our brain then releases a little bit of dopamine which is like our happiness chemical. So, our brain loves that feeling. Then, our brain just wants to accomplish all sorts of tiny tasks instead of looking at the big picture. Our brain gets addicted to finishing all the little things, leaving all the major events undone.

Getting Dumber

It turns out that the University of London also had some information to throw in the mix. In a study done in Great Britain, people who performed multiple cognitive tasks simultaneously actually dropped in IQ. If you continually multitask, you are getting dumber by the minute. You can’t be reading this article while checking email and answering the phone. You have to focus. Our brains depend on having a challenge. If we continue this pattern of small tasks and small rewards, our brain gets lazy, creating an addiction.

Nothing Is Forever

Apparently some of the brain damage that was observed in these studies was indeed permanent. Basic brain functions declined and stayed down. Even when reintroducing complex tasks, the brains still did not recover brain function or IQ points that were lost in previous stages of the study.

If you’re still trying to do everything yourself, all at once, you have to stop. You need to delegate tasks to the rest of the team. You might need to bring in a contractor to help with audits or inventory control. You’re a smart person... for now. Let’s try to keep it that way.


  • Self-development

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Phil Astley's picture

I'm a Certified Public Accountant who's also a member of RAN ONE to help me with my passion - helping business owners in achieving their goals. I do accounting and business development "virtually" - so location's not important as long as you have broadband. I worked for government departments...