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Multitasking? It’s impossible


Multitasking – can it really be done as some people say? (MCTCampus)

Leland Taylor often goes to the library, sits at a computer and breezes through his assignments without distraction. But it wasn’t always this way for him. He used to sit in front of his laptop, watch YouTube videos, send text messages and use social media sites.

Taylor, a junior at Cabrini College, struggles with ADHD, which made it more difficult to focus on his schoolwork. Over his first few semesters, Taylor attests that it wasn’t easy and at times he was to blame for a few disappointing grades in the classroom. Like any other college student, he had to simply focus his time towards his academics while not distracting himself by multitasking.

“I’m not going to lie. As a freshman you aren’t sure what to expect because of all the freedom that you have,” Taylor said.

“I would have homework to do and three hours later I wouldn’t be close to finished because I’d be on Facebook or Twitter. I wouldn’t necessarily blame that on ADHD but multitasking definitely didn’t help my cause.”

Social media sites have been one of the greatest technological advances of the century. However they can be considered as one of the worst because we are seen as the puppets on the social media string. We see it in our everyday society; people are constantly checking their smart phones for the latest social media feeds. Students across the country seem to fall into the trap because studies have shown that multitasking with social media can result in lower production on schoolwork and lower grades.

According to the Harvard Business Review adapted from Daily Mail Online multitasking results in a 40 percent drop in productivity, heightened stress and 10 percent drop in IQ. If we compare these numbers with studying, there is an automatic disadvantage and it seems impossible to give the best effort to ensure good grades. However some students feel as though they are masters of multitasking; that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Multitasking could be described as a myth. According to several studies, our brains do not process multiple activities simultaneously. Rather, our brains have the ability to switch focus to several activities very quickly.

Three professors Yvonne Ellis, Bobbie Daniels and Andres Jauregui conducted a study in 2010 on the effect of multitasking on the grade performance of business students. They took 62 students, made them participate in a class lecture and gave them a quiz at the end of the lecture. Half of the students were able to multitask with their phones while the other half had to give their undivided attention. The numbers spoke volumes as the students that multitasked had significantly lower quiz grades than those who did not.

Taylor is a business major at Cabrini and often experienced the same results of those who were multitasking. To help Taylor with his ADHD, he was prescribed Adderall to help him focus better.

“I did notice a difference while on the medication but regardless I still had to give up my phone and social media while doing my homework,” Taylor said.

Overall it’s obvious by the statistics and studies that multitasking is not only improbable, but only results in a deficiency of attention which can lead to lower grades for a student. The main idea to walk away with is to focus on one thing at a time. It is proven that our brains aren’t equipped to handle several things at once so stick to one. Taylor even embodied this principle this school year.

“When I started to really focus on my work without any distractions, I did so much better with my grades and it seemed like I had more time to spare because I would do my work so fast,” Taylor said.

“I had some of the best grades this year since my freshman year.”

Now with finals coming up, Taylor is poised and ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

“I’m not worried about finals at all. I know how to study now,” Taylor said. And with much confidence and grin he said, “If anything, finals should be worried about me.”

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