Ability to accomplish several tasks simultaneously is called multitasking. Every student implements multitasking skill in everyday life. However, multitasking is not always connected with the process of studying. Frequently, studying is just one of the tasks that are to be accomplished, and it is surrounded by other less important things. A student may write an essay and simultaneously listen to the music, talk to the friends, scroll Instagram or Facebook page, and chat in messengers.
Some students even do not notice that they impair attention every time when they turn on music while studying. Besides, they even do not notice the effect that is implied by multitasking. In fact, the long-term effect is really dreadful. A person cannot concentrate on the certain topic, losses focus all the time, and the performed job is so poor that he or she needs to fix it or even start from the very beginning.
Studies of multitasking
The discussions on the problem of multitasking in studying started long ago. Today, the researches involve different fields of psychology. Due to these studies, we have discovered that only 5% of all students can multitask successfully. Other students just suffer from negative effects.
The recent studies concentrated on the researches of brain activity of the students who cannot multitask successfully. Here, we present several studies that are really important for understanding the effect of multitasking.
Texting during lectures
One of the first studies of multitasking incorporated a group of students who were taking a lecture on the accounting. This subject was known to all students, and they could easily understand the message of the lecture. The students were divided into two groups: the first group could text during the lecture, the second one turned off their phones. When the lecture was over, all students were asked to answer several questions based on the material of the lecture. The outcome was quite expected: the first group had worse results that the second group.
Using laptops and tablets to study
Today, many students prefer to use laptops and tablets during the studying: they do not write down the lecture but type it. However, the researches demonstrated that simultaneously with typing, students incorporated several more tasks. A spyware program was installed to the laptops. This program tracked the number of productive and distractive windows. The result of monitoring students’ devices was shocking: students played games, surfed the web, scrolled social networks. The total number of distractive apps was significantly higher that the number of productive windows.
Getting messages while reading
The studies of multitasking continued with the investigation of how students reacted on the distracting factors when they were involved in the process of studying. Two groups of people were invited to read a passage on a computer. The first group received messages while reading. The second group read without being distracted. The result of this experiment showed that the first group read the passage 59% longer than the second one.
GPA and multitasking
Also, the studies covered personal relation of the students to multitasking. 800 students were invited to the survey on their attitude to accomplishing several tasks at the same time. The results demonstrated that each student has lower GPA because of the regular multitasking.
Multitasking and engagement in studying
Multitasking is one of the main factors that lowers the engagement in studying. A student never gets totally involved in the process of getting new knowledge if he or she does not concentrate on it. Moreover, it is difficult for a student to catch an idea of the subject if he/she tries to catch ideas of 3 more subjects simultaneously.
Mixing of different ideas does not contribute to engagement in the process of studying. Even if a student does not get distracted on messengers and Internet browsing, he still loses the concentration and cannot clearly define the differences between what he has already started.
Of course, regular interruptions of studying do not favor the engagement. The researches that we have introduced in the previous point support the idea that there is nothing worse for students’ productivity than messengers and possibility to browse the web.
How to stop multitasking?
Although multitasking has many negative points, still most of the students keep following this way of studying. However, there are several effective methods that will help keep you focused on a certain task and do not lose the attention until you complete it.
Plan your activity
Plans always help stay concentrated on a certain task. This works perfectly for the students who cannot concentrate on one activity and do everything at the same time. For example, they can write an essay and look for the materials for research while they are listening to the lecture! They interrupt one activity with another, and none of them is completed with a result.
Turn off your gadgets
You do not need smartphone and tablet for studying all the time. Check all information before you start the activity. If you need more information, use books. The matter is that when we use gadgets to find some information, we cannot refuse to check social networks. Again, when your gadget it turned on, you receive messages and notifications that disturb you.
If you want to give up multitasking, you need to control yourself. When you notice that you start to do another task along with the current one, stop doing that. Try to get involved in what you do now, and do not even think about other activities.
To beat multitasking, you can incorporate several methods. All of them are effective and can help in solving your problem.
Students have different approaches to multitasking: some of them adore it, some of them hate it. The fact is that multitasking is a real danger for almost everyone. It creates a field of distractions that do not contribute to engagement of students and leads to loss of interest in studying. Working with several tasks simultaneously is a real challenge, and this is a challenge you should avoid. Avoid it if you have a chance to do that, and never become a disciple of multitasking. Manage your time wisely, and you will accomplish all the tasks step by step.
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