Drunk Driving and Multi-Tasking

Are you one of those gifted people who can talk on the phone while checking email and simultaneously making lunch for your kids?

Probably not.

We only think we are successfully multi-tasking because our brains are lying to us.

Look at it this way – drunk people think their driving is fine. They have no idea they ran a red light, nearly hit a pedestrian and drove into oncoming traffic six times in the last minute. That’s why when the policeman pulls them over, they’re belligerent. “Whatshoo talking bout, Occifer?! I’m drive fine chew got nuthin bterr to do than harass me! Why you pull me over I dun nothin lemme call my lawdudeguy he’ll sue you bad,” as they talk into a wet wipe.

Seriously, I just saw body cam footage of a woman driver who was so drunk, she thought a wet wipe was a cellphone even after the officer pointed out that it wasn’t.

And believe it or not, multi-tasking is the desk equivalent of drunk driving.

Doing more at one time is the best way to do a lot poorly. Our brains simply cannot handle it. We’ve got a finite amount of brain power, and flipping between tasks drains this power faster than you think.

Your working memory can only hold a few bits of info at a time. Don’t believe me? Quick, read this number sequence and then repeat it out loud a minute from now without looking back at it: 937461094657

That’s only 12 bits of data, and you’re even familiar with all of those symbols. Yet remembering it along with checking email or making a phone call isn’t going to end well.

When you attempt to multi-task, you don’t save time, your mistakes go up, you burn through your brain energy faster, you strain your working memory, and your focus is shot to heck.

Do you want to get more done in less time? Then do one thing at a time. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but our brains try to fool us into thinking we are good at things we stink at…

Like driving drunk.


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