We always talk about being present, we are constantly remembered that we need to focus our attention on the “here and now” if we want to lead a happy life.
But have you noticed how difficult “being here” really is?
This modern life has too many distractors around us and our mind is getting used to pretend it can “multitask”, that means doing multiple task at one time. But that is not possible for humans. Yes, I know most women think they can do it because they usually have to keep their mind on different things at the same time, but human multitasking is very different to computer multitasking.
Men and women are equipped with a brain that has to pause and refocus continuously as we switch between tasks. I can hear many people telling me now that they can really do two things at the same time, but actually that is not possible for our brain. After many studies that began in the 1960s we have reached the conclusion that it is actually a rapid toggling among tasks rather than simultaneous processing.
The most anterior part of the brain allows us to leave something when it´s incomplete and return to the same place and continue from there. The brain must decide which activity is most important and therefore it takes more time to finish everything. So errors are more common and to finish the tasks will take longer. So, sorry, no, you cannot multitask as your computer does.
There are some studies right now about how to train your brain to “multitask” in a better way but I wouldn´t be very optimistic about it.
Actually Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ. A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.
So that brings us to our main concern: “Be more present”.
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