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Multitasking Is Worse for Productivity Than Smoking Marijuana

Here's some depressing news for people who are attempting to be functional humans in the 21st century: doing more than one thing at once, otherwise known as the only way anyone ever does anything anymore, is probably keeping us from being truly productive.

Here’s some depressing news for people who are attempting to be functional humans in the 21st century: doing more than one thing at once, otherwise known as the only way anyone ever does anything anymore, is probably keeping us from being truly productive.

A recent study from Kings Psychiatry College in London found that jumping between products and overusing technology caused a 10-point drop in test subjects’ IQs. For comparison, subjects who were tested after smoking marijuana experienced a 5-point drop in IQ.

“Unchecked infomania reduces workers’ mental sharpness,” said Dr. Glen Wilson, the lead psychologist on the study. “Multitasking can be incredibly stressful on the brain; it impairs short-term memory and concentration. Those who are constantly breaking away from tasks to react to email or text messages suffer similar effects on the mind as losing a night’s sleep.”

In an article on The Age, performance coach Andrew May offers recommendations for kicking the multitasking habit, including:

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1. Organizing time into blocks, and devoting those blocks to one task.

2. Forced isolation, i.e., turning off your phone, email alerts, and instant messaging features for a set period of time.

3. Tech-free meetings.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think multitasking saves time, or wastes it? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

More from PayScale

For 98 Percent of People, Multitasking Kills Productivity [infographic]

Why Your Boss Shouldn’t Want You to Multitask

The 10 Commandments of Productivity

multitasking

(Photo Credit: ryantron/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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