Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Think You're Good at Multitasking? Think Again.

Visual Academy recently released a graphic outlining the pitfalls of multitasking.

According to the studies they reviewed only 2 percent of us can multitask with any credibility.

Here's something I bet you didn't know - you will actually spend LESS time doing any set of activities if you do them one at a time AND that includes studying and homework.

Do you know that the majority of students spend over an average of 100 minutes per day on Facebook?!  I know we like to stall as long as possible instead of actually studying, but  that's almost two hours extra time spent "doing homework"!

AND...worst of all studies connect a correlation between dropping GPAs and increasing time spent on Facebook.  The average non-Facebooker has a GPA of 3.82 while you Facebook junkies have an average GPA of 3.06. Yikes.

Not to mention Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, Google+, etc., etc., etc.

Oh, and when you're finished looking to see what your "friends" are doing, how about texting?!

Students send an average of 97 texts per day.  What?  That extends your "homework" time even further.

As Visual Academy says, "It's one thing to be doing laundry and listening to music" it's something quite different to be reading your textbook, texting with your friends, looking at social media, and writing a paper.  Why?  For one reason it seems that those activities are all done with the same part of your brain.

What should you do?  What do you think?  Turn off your cellphone, shut down Facebook, and read your textbook and then write your paper.  Do one thing at a time and you'll get done faster AND get better grades.

Do you have to fight off texting and social media when you study?  What strategies would you suggest to your fellow students to resist the multitasking temptation?

28 comments:

  1. I think that this article is astonishing. I am a frequent multitasker and I never think about just how much time texting and facebooking takes away from my studying. I don't think I've ever written a paper without taking facebook breaks in-between paragraphs, and that's a little scary.
    I'm still a big fan of multitasking for everyday things though. I think I'd like to conduct an experiment to see if multitasking with chores and such is just as wasteful of time.

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  2. I definitely agree with this article. I can't multitask at all because i always seem to forget about the other task. I try to fight off social media as best i can, however, i always find myself after completing one problem back on YouTube or Imgur.com. To fellow students, as one myself, is to get the computer out of the room. Try doing homework somewhere else, like the kitchen or living room. When i have a lot of work due the next day, this strategy definitely helps me.

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  3. Texting and social media definitely present a huge barrier to my focus and concentration during homework and studying. Every time I hit a bump in studying, whether it's a hard part in a physics problem or writers' block thinking about essay ideas or looking through my lexicon for a felicitous phrase, my brain starts looking for any distraction, any excuse to step away from the problem and think about it later; facebook and texting provide that distraction. However, the moment I turn my attention away from work, it takes twice as long to muster enough concentration to face the assignment again.
    A strategy I find helpful in resisting multitasking is to set aside a place in the house with no distractions. A simple table with no computer or cell phone. Naturally, some assignments require a computer, but for all else that doesn't, turn off your phone or put it away in a drawer (NOT in your pocket!) and leave your laptop somewhere else. I find that physical methods of isolating myself from distractions are usually much more effective than just relying on mental determination to not get distracted.

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  4. I agree with this article. At the same time, I was surprised to hear that students spend over 100 minutes for facebook on average and text besides facebook. Moreover, it is related to GPA decrease, so it is serious problem. What we need to do is that students should do time management to avoid studying time. As another choice, it is better to decide to finish using these computer activities. I also have some fights when I study, at that time, I focus on my studying at first. Then after I finish everything that I need to do as a student, I begin to use them.

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  5. For me I have to say that I am one of those people who are trying to write a paper but also have a social network tab open. Or lets say I'm reading for a class once I finished reading about 3 or 4 pages I'll take a quick break and go on my phone or go get a snack. and then my 1 minute break turns into a 10 minute break. I get sidetracked so easily. For me I cant read more then a few pages without taking a break because then I lose track on what I've already read. The first strategy I suggest is to put the computer and phone away. Sometimes I'll even give them to my mom and not have her give it to me till I'm done. Or if you need to use the computer do it somewhere where someone can keep an eye on you and make sure your on track. The second strategy I suggest is to go to your school library. Being at my school library makes me feel like I have to do my homework but not surf the web. Everyone there is doing homework and you don't want to be the one person that goes to the library just to surf the web rather then do homework.

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  6. In fact, multitasking is different tasks like reading a textbook and doing your homework computing for your limited mental resources. Since tasks such as those require your attention focused on only one spot, you will actually slow down your thinking. It is just like writing an essay and drawing a picture. Most of us only has one specialized hand to write and draw. It makes sense that if you only concentrate on one task, you will be done faster than you keep switching tasks all the time.

    It is imperative to fight off texting and social media such as facebook and twitter for the fear that they affect students' learning efficiency and effectiveness. Although there are many things calling out to be done to fight them off, one effective way to make them disappear is to make them disappear. Turning off all your electrical devices including your cellphone before you study would be enough to prevent you from multitasking.

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  7. I like to listening to music when I doing my homework. I spend most of spare time in Starbucks . the environment let me feel relax, and I won't easy to get sleep. people are talking there, but I will ignore them. when I am doing something, I can't hear anything

    I don't really need to fight off texting and social media when I study. First, I don't like text with people. if I want to inform someone something, I will call him. Texting just waste my time.

    Sometimes, I will look over my Facebook. what are friends doing? I am the person who know how to manage time, so I won't open any social media when I'm studying.

    To most people, doing multiple tasks seems to difficult. so do I. I suggest students can separate their study time and their rest time, and make sure there will not be a long time to watching social media.

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  8. This article is very interesting and i agree with it. Since i am a multitasker too, i found out that it is really difficult to write a nice paper and text with friends at the same time, however, it didnt stop me from multitasking while doing homework or learning. After reading this article, i think the statistics really help students who multitask like me to know more about the disadvantage of multitasking. it gives a further information of how multitasking affects student's performance when they multitask. Next time when i am doing my paper or studying, the strategies from this article will give me impacts to improve my performance.

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  9. Social media sites and texting are definitely effecting my ability to concentrate on school work. I've always been easily distracted in terms of listening to music and studying, I never quite understood the ability to do that. However, social media and texting bring it to a whole new level. In response to some of the comments above, I agree that students, including myself, will use any excuse to step away from our work and log into Facebook or Instagram. That is not multitasking in my opinion, that is procrastination. I find my most productive and accurate work is when I turn my electronics off and concentrate solely on the assignment. It is very difficult to do-but worth it. It's pretty amazing how fast we actually can get assignments finished.

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  10. This article is particularly interesting to me because this semester I have been trying to multitask more, and it has been having a negative affect on my ability to recall what I had studied later on. I think the thing that makes it so hard to avoid multitasking is that I'm not very into the subjects I have been studying lately. I would much rather talk to a friend if that option is on the table. To avoid this problem, I'm going to have to start turning off all of my electronics before studying and then reward myself with a little technology time after. I believe that work time is significantly increased if you multitask as well, because it has been taking me a very long time to finish assignments lately. Obviously no one wants to have to do homework all night, so why would we do something that increases the time we take to do it? I'm hoping that I figure this out soon, and quit multitasking while doing my homework.

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  11. People try to spend less time to do things. Thus they could do a lot things in certain time. However, efficiency involves how we use our brains. In other words, we can use our right brain and left brain at the same time, which is efficient. However, if we use our left brain or right brain to do more than one things, which is lees efficient than we do only one thing.

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  12. no I am not a face book junky. in fact I am almost never on face book. to me face book is just another way to stock people and see whats going on in their lives. I MEAN GIVE ME A BREAK PEOPLE!! your really checking up on your ex boyfriend or girlfriend to see who their dating now and while your studying DONT YOU HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO!!! LIKE MAYBE FOCUSING ON YOUR GREADS. it seems to me that if your on face book or twitter or instagram while studying that you don't have good grades in the first place, but hey who am I to judge. theres no point in having all the social media windows up if your studying. I have a friend that no matter what she does she has to check her face book and instagram like 247 it drives me nuts. we could be at dinner and shes all up in her phone. WE COULD BE OUT AT THE CLUB LOOKING FOR SOME HOT GUYS AND SHES IN HER PHONE. no wonder why no one talks to her. anyways the point is stay away from it when your studying because why even study when you know your not going to. DUH PEOPLE!!

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  13. Most of what I read in this article was not new to me, considering that I am one of those students who has to “fight off” social media when studying. I do notice that it takes longer to complete assignments, that my test scores drop, and that my concentration has abandoned me to say the least. What really caught my attention was the diagram though. It states, “Business students text the most, while applied science students text the least”. That completely got me off guard because I am a business student and I do actually find myself on my phone more often than I was before my major in business. In fact, my grades were not as great as they were prior to having social medias and texting involved when trying to complete homework.
    For individuals who have a hard time resisting multitasking temptations, I would suggest to go somewhere quiet and relaxing to study and to only take the assignments you need to complete. This usually gets me in a focused mode which allows me to get everything done in a timely manner.

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  14. I thought this post was very interesting and true. I catch myself and my friends often being addicted to social media. I use the word addicted because you see people checking and updating their statuses 24/7 even when walking. I noticed the other day while walking around the mall every other person was walking,and on their phones! This really annoyed me because they weren't paying attention to where they were going. They could be doing something way more productive. In the end, we should pay attention to how much we are on social media and how often it affects our daily lives. Instead of sitting there on your phone, get something important done.

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  15. I do notice that social networking get in the way and extends my studying and work time. Since social networking is so easily accessible on our phones, tablets and computers it takes up a few minutes here and there of many parts of our day which adds up quickly. I am constantly texting and checking social media, so when I do homework I have to try to isolate myself from these things.Sometimes I'll have to turn off my phone or leave it in a different room while I work. I also try to avoid my computer if it is not required for homework because I know I won't get anything done with the distractions of the world wide web. Even when social networks get boring, I can entertain myself with news, music, videos, blogs, stories or even just searching for random things. I try to set goals for myself, like "after i read __ pages, I can take a break" This way I get a little done at a time and allow myself for beaks so I don't drain myself.

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  16. I don't know if I'd say I multitask. If I'm on a social network like Youtube, its to kill time and to break from my paper or studies. So in the end i don't think I multitask. I totally understand how you cant do two at the same time. I don't know much about brain function but if I get a text while studying my choice is either to keep studying and ignore it, or to give the text my full attention. I cant split it up evenly, if I try I wont retain anything from the book or the conversation. The best thing to do is study at the kitchen table, away from the electronics.

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  17. I am definitely guilty of "multitasking". Every time I do homework or try to study I am distracted by my phone or my computer. There's times when I really want to get something done so I end up turning off my phone. I'd say at most 5 minutes go by and then I just turn my phone back on and I get distracted by text messages, Instagram, and Facebook. Before I know it half an hour or even an hour has gone by. And its the same story if I'm working on my laptop I can't resist checking my Facebook. Something that has worked well is doing my homework at the end of the day when my phone has low battery so I just stay on it until it dies and I do not allow myself to charge it until I'm done with my assignments.

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  18. From my perspective, social media and texting are one of the main reasons why students do not concentrate on their studies. If a student wants to be a multitasker, I think that they have to be incredibly responsible because it takes a lot of concentration and effort to be successful academically wise and be able to multitask at the same time. Personally, I think that in order to be successful in your studies, you have to be completely determined and motivated and be able to let go of social media and texting others for at least a few hours because at the end of the day, one's degree will always be their, while friendships might not. That is what keeps me going when I think about checking in on my social media accounts instead of trying to memorize what is next on my midterm. In my opinion, students need to realize the seriousness of their education because we only get a few years of financial aid throughout college where as making new friends does not always last forever. When I know I have to study, I always ignore my phone and avoid social media as much as I can until I feel that I am ready for any exam. My advice to students that feel the need to always multitask would be to go to the library without a phone or to turn it off in order to study because a quiet environment always pushes you harder to focus. To make studying a little more fun, I would also advice students to say out loud the material that one needs to memorize with a friend because the more you repeat it to yourself, the more it sticks to your head.


    -Daisy Cabrera

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  19. After reading all of this information about how harmful multitasking is, I am terrified for my learning! It is no surprise to me that things like Facebook and texting can take away a lot of time but I didn't think it would go as far as to dropping a student’s GPA. What I can say in my defense is that I do not have a Facebook, so I don’t have to worry about being the person who logs in 6 times a day. Although I will admit that I text and that is a big distraction when I am trying to do homework. My solution to this epidemic is to simply put the phone away for an hour. Now for the Facebook situation, all I can say is to “stop logging in so much!.” The texts and Facebook will always be there waiting for you when you are finished doing your homework or studying.

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  20. I do find it hard that when it comes to doing work for school it is hard to stay concentrated when there is so much social media that takes my attention away from my work. I especially use social media when I am trying to stall time and procrastinate on my work. I do agree that the best thing to do is turn off your phone, shut down the computer, and just have it be you and your text book so there so distractions. I have personally noticed when I do those things it gives me the time to have complete attention on my academic work. I also think that social media could be beneficial to students when doing academic work. I known for myself I need a break from my work and now and again so I can get all my thoughts together and then get back to work. Normally when I take a break I go on Instagram and/or Facebook then get back to my work. Even though social media can distract you from your work it also can be a way for you to take a break and then get back to work.

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  21. When doing school work, I do find it difficult to stay focused when social media is just a tap away. I usually have my phone right next to me when I am doing work and that leads to me going on all sorts of social media. Or I look back and forth at my phone and the homework which slows me down a lot. I would suggest not trying to multitask. Try to be as proficient as you can at one thing at a time and move to the next. I would say turn your phone on silent or even put it out of reach to make it easier to not check it constantly. Also, to keep the social media to a minimum or none at all when reading or writing.

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  22. It's so hard for me to not text and be on social media. I try to fight off social media, but of course it doesn't work. I try to turn my phone upside down so I won't know if I get a message and turn my vibrate off. However, with that I end up checking my phone at least 3 times a minutes...which is horrible. I think that maybe giving a friend your phone could help with the texting and instagram. If the homework, paper, or studying is done on the computer I think that would be harder to not stray from homework and check social media. I think that people just get bored of what they're doing or might think they are missing out on something, when in actuality nothing dramatic or life changing has happened. People are probably just posting about procrastinating or pointless things. Maybe if the homework isn't on the internet then they could turn off the wifi so they can't easily get on social media. I think it's all about will power.

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  23. During high school I thought I was able to multitask with everything. Whenever I was reading I would be listening to music also because I thought it helped me concentrate better. But now, I've learned that in order for me to finish my work or anything really I cannot have my phone near me. I am easily tempted to look into my social media accounts or even text someone. Even when writing an essay I have to limit myself on going online and looking for something else.
    It is difficult for me to maintain focus especially during finals. Even though I know there are important and can determine if you pass the class there is always something that captures my attention and takes me away from my work. Therefore, I believe when they say that not many people are able to multitask because personally I have come to learn that it is difficult.

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  24. I find it hard to stay away from social media when I'm doing work because I feel like I have to take a break or else i'll feel overwhelmed or something. I think it was easier in high school to get distracted because there was "so much" going on. I agree that if you do one thing at a time, it will take less time, just because that way you're not trying to do everything all at once. Then you would end up spending more time than you even expected to. Many people have tried the putting your phone away somewhere else method, and it actually helps. Since you don't have your phone right in front of you, you aren't constantly thinking about checking your social media. It's no surprise that social media takes time away from things that you could have finished an hour or two before. I think because people or students still want to be in the loop, they try multitasking with doing homework or studying while also texting and stuff even if the text is about the work they're working on. I believe that when you multitask, it actually makes everything more complicated because you want to do everything all at once and it's just best if you do one thing at a time.

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  25. I personally find it rather easy to not be distracted by social media when I am studying or doing homework. Social media was a problem when I was in high school because I would always find myself just on social media apps when I should be doing homework or studying. In order to prevent that from happening in college I decided to turn off my notifications, that way I would not get distracted everytime my phone went off. Also something else I would do is delete the social media apps from my phone while I was doing homework and then once I was finished I would reinstall them. Now it is not so much an issue for me because I can control those distractions by simply turning my phone off or just not having it near me.

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  26. This post is interesting to me especially seeing the gap of the GPA difference between a non- Facebooker and people who constantly use Facebook most of the time, plus the bar graph that shows the more you use Facebook the more your GPA goes down. I admit that there are times I multitask by having my phone next to me while studying to check it or another tab open watching a show I want to catch up on but I have to fight off all of these in order for me to focus and finish all the tasks I need to do. To avoid multitasking or checking your phone, I would suggest is to turn your phone off (or any electronic devices) when you are studying and just turn it on during your (small) breaks then turn it off again. Another suggestion is to go to your nearest library or the school library, the library is quiet place and since you are in a study area/environment it sets your brain to “study mode”. The last suggestion I would add is to try to think that the homework or the tests that you are trying to study or work on are your priority and social media and other stuff can wait because they won’t go anywhere.

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  27. When I saw the title of this article, I thought that multitasking means doing more serious tasks. We have many tasks every day, such as making meals, going to college, doing homework, going back to home, washing clothes, going to bed and so on. We always have to manage our time to do all things we have to do. However, this article was about studying and interfering stuff! Playing with phones is not a task. I’ve never call that multitasking.

    I didn’t know that the majority of students spend an average of 100 minutes per day on Facebook. And there is a correlation between dropping GPAs and increasing time spent on Facebook.  The average non-Facebooker has a GPA of 3.82 while you Facebook junkies have an average GPA of 3.06. It’s, it’s terrible.

    In my case, I’m addicted to Youtube. I’m afraid of imagining how many hours I already spent to watch Videos on Youtube until today. What I should do is just to defeat the temptation. The solution is simple; Turn off my iPhone, shut down Facebook, and read my textbook and then write my paper. It is perfectly correct. BUT, it is hard.

    I have tried to shut down every electronic device countless times, but I need to open my laptop to see the assignment or writing papers. It is easy to access to Youtube by only one click. I always lose this game. When I really need to concentrate my homework, I go to the café that has a weak connection to the internet. Under the low connection, I got irritated and stop watching. It works…sometimes. Why do I have to do such troublesome “treatment” to just do homework? I really need to know how others are resisting the temptation….

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  28. I don't really find it hard to focus on studying when I know that it needs to be done, but I definitely do multitask sometimes when I study. Whether that means listening to music or having a movie playing in the background, I feel like it actually makes me feel more comfortable when I'm trying to study. But maybe that's just me. Sometimes it's nice to study in silence, or maybe in a park or something!
    If someone is having trouble with putting their phone away when they need to study, I would tell them to just turn it off and put it in another room so that it isn't distracting.

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