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Why Your Memory Fails You at Work

Put down the phone and read a book to improve your memory. Constant multitasking causes our memories to fail at younger ages.

(Photo Credit: oatsy40/Flickr)

Technology, stress, and multitasking are having adverse effects on our memories. This is directly affecting work productivity and our ability to get a job done well.

Gen Y

Huffington Post reports on a recent poll about how well people's memories work at different ages. Traditionally, we expect the memory to start to deteriorate during the geriatric period of life. Surprisingly, the poll found people within the age range of 18 to 35 years were the most forgetful.

Gender

The poll also uncovered a higher tendency among women to forget everyday things, such as where she left her car keys. A closer examination of the results leads us to the fact that this has less to do with age or gender, and everything to do with lifestyles today.

Work/Life Balance

"Equality" aside, working women continue to bear the brunt of child care and housework responsibilities. Multitasking leads to both divided attention and stress. If you are doing three things at once, you are less likely to do any of them as well as if you did each thing one at a time. This is one explanation for higher levels of forgetfulness among both women and young people today.

Technology

Technology allows people to multitask more, which may seem at first blush to be good for productivity. As the memory study shows, more multitasking is sometimes detrimental to productivity, as people forget things and do other tasks less well.

Doctors at the UCLA Department of Psychology explain that the need to multitask affects the brain in adverse ways. Growing up with technology and constant multitasking makes learning more difficult, because people don't learn to concentrate one one thing for an extended period of time. This helps explain Generation Y's poor results on the memory tests in the study.

Tell Us What You Think

Who seems more forgetful, young people or seniors? Let us know! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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