How multitasking affects productivity and your brain health

In this busy world we live in, multitasking has become a key buzz word.

Many people believe multitasking is a great way to save time. They think that if they work on several tasks at once, they’ll accomplish more. However, recent studies have shown that switching from one task to another actually has adverse effects on our productivity and brain health.

It causes a decline in productivity and quality.

Experts estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. It can also cause you to introduce errors into your work. Especially if one or more of your activities involves a lot of critical thinking. While you might feel you’re doing a lot, you’re really preventing your brain from organising your thoughts properly.

It slows you down.

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t save time. In fact, it will probably take you longer to finish two projects when you’re jumping back and forth, than it would to finish each one separately. Switching from one task to another makes it difficult to tune out distractions and may cause mental blocks that can slow you down.

It causes you to become chronically distracted.

Multitasking is associated with reduced activity in regions of the brain important for attention. While a person is focused on multiple tasks, they are distracted from everything else. This distraction can become chronic. Meaning that eventually, you may not be able to focus on one task at a time. Moreover, you may be drawn more to minor tasks that are repetitive and can be done automatically, with little brainwork.

It will weaken your memory.

Memory loss is common among people who regularly multitask. Our brains are not designed to handle too many tasks at the one time. When you jump between different activities, you aren’t paying enough attention to any of them. So whatever you are working on or learning, you won’t be able to recollect it properly later. What’s worse, is eventually multitasking could also damage your permanent memory.


Our brains can’t handle several complex tasks at once. And no matter what you’re doing, multitasking will hurt your efficiency to some degree. Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be difficult. But the benefits are worth it. You’ll make fewer mistakes, get more done and feel a lot better at the end of the day.


Icon of a light bulb

Enhance your professional development and leadership skills with courses at Odyssey Training. Odyssey Training delivers short courses for frontline staff and is dedicated to providing you with the skills you need to enhance your competitiveness. 

When life gets busy, it is common to feel overwhelmed or spiral into procrastination. Maybe you have a great plan, but distractions and other priorities are stealing your time. You can spend heaps of time doing things right, but if you are not doing the right things at the right times, it is simply a waste. Time Management 1 day course will help you prioritise effectively and achieve peak performance through practical time management tools that are easy to apply.