Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
It’s a pitfall in the workplace, especially among managers, that leads to mistakes no matter how strongly to protest it. Multi-tasking makes us feel like we’re getting things done, but are you really? Travis Bradberry, cofounder of Talentsmart and author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, writes about the scary research findings behind multitasking in this article for Forbes.
Stanford University found that “people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.” This makes sense, as you are not fully functioning on the task at hand as efficiently if it had your sole attention. OK, so we’re not as great as we think we are. Big deal. But Bradberry continues on to present further research to report that multitasking lowers your IQ and causes brain damage. Ouch.
“A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasked experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.”
Not only is there impairment, but doing things such as texting and watching TV, Bradberry writes, harms the part of the brain that holds the ability to empathize and control cognitive and emotional responses. This is where his company Talentsmart comes in.
Talentsmart is like the Lumosity for EQ training that offers workshops to regain self competence. I have been through several professional workshops that focussed on tips to performing better in the office, but they seemed to almost prize the ability to multitask. As mindful future and current managers, we must be aware that we can do everything, but we have to do it one thing at a time and pass along this information to our employees.