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Could multitasking be bad for your brain?

Posted on 06/06/2018 by

Research suggests multitasking could decrease productivity by up to 40 per cent.

When you study from home, it can be tempting to make the most of being at home to get ahead on household chores while you work on your assignments.

Hands up if you’ve ever tried to study while folding laundry, making dinner or playing with your kids?

Or perhaps you sit down to study, only to be distracted by the dirty dishes on the bench. You’re up and down like a yo-yo all throughout your study session, chipping away at chores in between writing your assignments.

At the end of the day, your house is sparkling clean — but is your study being compromised?

According to recent research, multitasking could actually be decreasing your productivity by up to 40 per cent.

The research suggests it’s better to devote all of your attention to one specific task — such as studying — instead of trying to do too many things at once.

With this in mind, here are some tips to beat your multitasking habit when you study from home.

Follow a study schedule

Create a weekly schedule and allocate specific time slots for studying, as well as slots for cleaning, childcare, and other household duties. Try to follow your study schedule closely so that you only study in the time allocated to study, only clean in the time allocated to clean, and so forth.

Out of sight, out of mind

If you find it hard to concentrate surrounded by unfolded washing and dirty dishes, try to find a place to study where you won’t be distracted. Set up a designated study space, choose the cleanest room in the house, or opt to study in a library or cafe instead.

Try the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique is when you study for 25-minute ‘bursts’ followed by a short break (no more than five minutes). During the 25-minute burst you devote your attention to one task without interruptions. The point is to wait until the 25 minutes is up until you check your phone, go to the bathroom or make a cup of tea. After four 25-minute bursts, you can take a longer break, such as lunch. This technique works well for people who are easily distracted — you may even find that you get quite competitive with yourself (in a good way!)

Practice makes perfect

If you’ve been a proud multitasker all your life, it might take some time before you feel comfortable devoting your attention to one task at a time. But, as with everything, practice makes perfect. Once you’re aware of your multitasking habit, and make an effort to change it, you’ll find focusing on one task becomes easier over time.

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