APU Careers & Learning Online Learning

Can You Really Multi-Task?

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With school being back in session across the country how do you manage your schedule? If you have school-age kids now you need to somehow fit study time into your already packed schedule, along with the classes you signed up for and possibly work. Most may think they have a system down pat. The problem here is even though you may have been multi-tasking for a long time now, it may be hurting you more than benefiting you.

Watching TV while writing a paper for class, eating dinner while helping the kids with their homework, or conducting household chores while doing research online. There typically isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, and because of this we multi-task. But when you’re trying to complete a few actions at once you’re only accomplishing 1/3 of each. Time management has always been a hot topic on this blog, and in the online learning space, and now we address why it’s necessary to reconsider how you’re really spending your time in relation to your priorities.

This interesting article from the UK highlights the prospect that multi-tasking isn’t effective. The article points out that people typically will watch television, while surfing the internet and checking their news feed on facebook. According to their reporting, “multi-tasking is a good way to do several things badly.” It’s noted from studies by Gloria Mark, professor of informatics at the University of California, that “they have found that when people are continually distracted from one task, they work faster but produce less.” “Another found that students solving a math puzzle took 40% longer and suffered more stress when they were asked to multi-task.”

The article goes along to say that switching between tasks we have a lag in regaining our thought process to handle what’s now in front of us. This can be a problem for students trying to study or research with other distractions around. It’s not to say you can’t have some music in the background while you work, or your favorite show on in the background, but just like you may have guessed you’re not absorbing all that you could.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to read this list of the Top 10 Time-Management Tips for Online Students. This means no distractions…give your multi-tasking a break every once in a while for your more worthwhile ventures.

– J. Mason

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