I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Multitasking and Time Management
May 5, 2015
People really try to fit everything they need and want to do all together, and that’s just not possible. Trying to multitask is not as simple as someone might think, and they will stress themselves out trying to do so. That’s why people need to manage their time and activities more carefully. So we can handle the serious stuff and hold off on the stuff that can wait a little while.
In an article written by Sarah Sparks, Studies on Multitasking Highlight Value of Self-Control, she says that there is a large temptation to multitask and we need the ability to control it. Based on research explained in the article, on average, teenagers use around 6 different multi-media sites outside of school simultaneously. The brain can't be two places at once, yet we so desperately try to make it so it can. More research shows that it takes longer to multitask than it would just to do things one at a time, because attention isn’t being given to one thing and it is causing the brain to work even harder than it should. Students can never put their phones down. According to studies, students that stop studying or testing to answer texts will score up to a whole grade letter lower. When a student is studying and stop to answer and read a text or notification, the brain switches to focus on that one thing. Then, when the attention is put back to studying the brain has to work twice as hard and remember what it was that was actually being read. Researches put self-control to the test with the “marshmallow test”, where they put preschoolers in a room with a marshmallow in front of them and told them not to eat it. If they waiting for 15 minutes they would be granted another marshmallow, but over 75% of them couldn't resist the marshmallow for that long. The test concluded that the kids who waited for their second marshmallow pay closer attention and scored higher on their tests. Similar results came around with the teens who couldn't control not answering their texts while test taking. So, most people don’t actually multitask, they just want to be. Because, people aren’t actually concentrating on two things at the same time, they are just switching their brain from one to the other.
Based on what the article has said, I have encountered similar problems when I have tried to multitask. Like I said before, the brain just can't be two places at once, so when someone tries to force it to do more they are going to get a little jumbled up. I’m sure I don’t even realize it half the time I am trying to multitask. For instance, once while being on the computer trying to finish up and revise an essay, I was texting my friend about our plans for the weekend. While focused on that I was too busy to realize I didn’t fully go over my paper before I turned it in, therefore resulting in a poor grade. I just couldn’t do two different things at the same time. I think I'm multitasking, but I'm actually just switching my brain back and forth from the different things that I'm trying to do. So it is true that test scores are going to be lower if I am trying to focus on more than just the material. If I can’t give something my full attention how am I supposed to know everything that is going to be on a test. I’ve done this a few times in my day, but as time has passed I have realized it just isn’t that easy to try to focus on more than one thing at a time. I’ll get confused and frustrated, and it won't turn into a good day. So, I have realized to just do one thing at a time at a nice pace and it will get the job done.
In an article written by Brett and Kate McKay, The Eisenhower Decision Matrix: How to Distinguish Between Urgent and Important Tasks and Make Real Progress in Your Life, they are discussing urgent and important tasks with the help of Stephen Covey. Stephen covey is a business thinker and the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He is also the creator of a decision matrix. His decision matrix is a box composed of four quadrants used to help manage time and activities. Quadrant one categorizes the important and urgent tasks. In this box are the tasks that need immediate attention, such as a family member in the hospital or a paper that is due. Quadrant two categorizes the tasks that are important but not urgent. These are the tasks that will help with long-term goals, such as relationships and exercise. Convey says that the focus should mainly be in Q2 because of the fact that these tasks are helping with a man’s future. Although, most people tend to put Q2 on the backburner, since they aren't urgent tasks and people tend to forget they are there. Quadrant three consists of urgent yet unimportant tasks, such as talking on the phone of a text message. They are urgent because they have to be handled then and there, but not important because they don't help with someone’s future goals. Last but not least, Quadrant four, which consists of unimportant and non-urgent tasks. These tasks are things such as watching television, playing video games and other time consuming less important things that aren’t there to help in the long run. The sad thing is people spend way more time than they should in Q4. Distinguishing between urgent and important is useful to use the matrix. Urgent tasks are tasks that need immediate attention, while important tasks are tasks that can wait but help in the long run. (The Art of Manliness)
Since graduating high school and have taken on more responsibilities of my own, I have found that I tend to focus on important matters but will sometimes procrastinate in completing them. Usually, I delay over quadrant two but still make time for less important activities. The hardest part of time management for me is taking care of tasks that would fall into quadrant one promptly while I still have plenty of time to give them proper thought and revision. Not handling priorities properly can affect tasks in other quadrants because procrastinating until the last minute causes them to interfere with other responsibilities, creating a domino effect of other tasks being pushed back as well. This adds stress in my life where it is otherwise unnecessary. Ideally I would like to work towards managing my responsibilities in such a way that it gives a balance of importance to all tasks that I need to do, great or small. The quadrants are a very helpful tool set that assists in organizing and managing my time and responsibilities into an even, efficient and stress free schedule.
So, based on what I’ve found on multitasking and time management, I have proved that my previous statements were correct and most people just tend to try to do everything all together. Which, like I said, is something people not only shouldn't do, but can’t do as well. Someone could spend all their time in Q1 if they wanted to, sure, but it just wouldn't be a healthy lifestyle. People have to find a balance between everything, so they can have peace and balance in their own mind.
McKay, Brett, and Kate McKay. "The Eisenhower Decision Matrix: How to Distinguish Between Urgent and Important Tasks and Make Real Progress in Your Life." The Art of Manliness. 23 Oct. 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2015. <www.artofmanliness.com/2013/10/23/eisenhower-decision>.
Sparks, Sarah. "Studies on Multitasking Highlight Value of Self-Control." Education Week. 15 May 2012. Web. 24 March. 2015. <http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/16/31multitasking_ep.h31.html?tkn=PTWFGpBwR5o7bKrnCvQZswL8Vr+lUoJB+62c&cmp=clp-edweek>.