- WCC Contributor
The Myth of Multitasking
Christopher Newport University
How many of us think we have mastered the art of multitasking? I mean, who can watch TV, snack, text friends, and scroll through timelines better than me, right? Well, my friends, don’t believe the hype. Multitasking simply does not exist. Researchers have discovered that when we attempt this so called “multitasking” our brain is actually just switching back and forth between two things very quickly. In other words, it is humanly impossible to focus on more than one thing at a time. I know what you’re probably thinking — speak for yourself, I can write a paper while listening to my favorite album and ace it! I commend you and trust me when I tell you, I have done it plenty of times myself. But studies have shown that doing this actually significantly decreases productivity and even damages your brain overtime. You get the most out of your brain power when you stop and focus on one thing. And we want that beautiful brain of yours to thrive and remain healthy. So hear me out.
For those of you who are anything like me, this is probably very disappointing news. When I was in college, I wanted to do everything under the sun. I joined a social sorority, joined a business fraternity, joined a community service program, was admitted into the honors program, studied abroad in Europe, and played a NCAA sport— all while maintaining a social life because what’s college without a little fun, right? I get two reactions from this. It’s either, “Wow, that’s amazing that you were able to juggle all of that,” or “Sounds like you were spreading yourself too thin.” To be quite honest with you, they’re both right. If I disregarded everything else and just focused on my basketball career, I probably could have been an All-American. If I disregarded everything else and just focused on my community service program, I probably could have saved the world. Think of Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, or Picasso; they epitomize greatness. They dedicated their entire lives to something and that focused energy changed the world today as we know it. If you have that special thing that undeniably speaks volumes to you, I implore you to put your all into it! But again, if you’re a little more like me, there is so much beauty in that as well!
Being a multi-faceted student helped me grow in more ways than I can probably put into words. I think about all of the different people I have encountered and things I have learned by having such a well-rounded experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world. In my opinion, your 4+ years is the perfect time to explore, take risks, step outside of your comfort zone and watch how much you learn about yourself. The key is don’t try to do it all at once. For instance, I would often schedule days where I am only working on one of my obligations and nothing else. Just be 100% present with whatever you are doing. So go ahead, take that random elective that has your interest peeked. Join that extracurricular club dedicated to that skill you’ve always wanted to learn. Experience as much as your heart desires and your special thing, that thing that undeniably speaks volumes to you, will find you.