Multitasking, A Danger To Our Brain

· July 17, 2016

Multitasking or doing several things at once is not a good habit for our brain. Although we commonly thing of it as a positive thing, it’s not necessarily productive to be watching TV while using our cellphone and talking to our partner at the same time. That prevents us from focusing and reflects a loss of cognitive and relational efficiency (to the extent that social networks have gone from being social networks to anti-social networks).

In our busy world, the present has become a place forgotten by our consciousnessWe encourage distraction and accustom our brain to switch tasks consistently. This also affects the expression and control of our emotions.

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Imagine a nice man who is strolling along and stops in the middle of a crosswalk to think about what topics of conversation were discussed during dinner the day he went to meet his in-laws. We agree that it is not exactly a good place to disconnect.

You might think this example is exaggerated. Okay, so let’s imagine a person that loves music or a radio program who has made a habit of walking down the street with headphones in a fairly busy area. He doesn’t run the same risk as our thinker, but neither one is advised.

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 Multitasking: the present à la carte

Our music lover perhaps is in the present because he is listening to something playing at the time. But if you think about it, it is a kind of pseudo-present, because the situation he is in is not natural.

In this sense, the technology we have created is one of the main culprits that have substantially increased the time we spend in this new dimension: multitasking.


We have devices that allow us to bring movies or music anywhere. We have transformed into time optimizers; trying by all means available to us to make every moment full of something that we like.

It is not that we live outside the present because of our concerns about the future or melancholy of the past; it’s that in order to reach reality there more and more layers.

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Reality is a waste of time

If we go to a gym, it is not uncommon to find an increasingly common character. That person who exercises with an electronic book on the screen of the treadmill with headphones.

It is really difficult for us to focus only on one thing, or be completely absorbed in what we are doing. We are invaded by the feeling that we are wasting time, that we have vacant channels that could be perfectly busy with more helpful or pleasant information.

We may be taking a walk with our partner and have the feeling that the view is empty. It is not something that is thought about, it is something automated in us. In fact, without realizing it we may take out our phone and check the latest updates on our social networks or reply to pending messages.

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We do all this without the feeling that we have stopped listening because we have simply occupied another sense that was available. The problem here is that we only count on one brain which is not exactly great at managing two tasks.

So, inadvertently, we are actually not doing two tasks at once, but going from one to another quickly, like going into the kitchen occasionally to check on the turkey in the oven.

It treats the two channels like the noise made by the washing machine or bus that can reach a stop from one moment to another. It depends on the selective changes that occur and not on what is actually happening.

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We have left patience along the way

Why do we automatically leave reality? Why are we not able to set a margin so that we are presented with something interesting? Why do we feel we are wasting our time if we are not in “multitasking mode”?

Because we have lost patience. The patience to wait, but to wait for the truth and not by doing other things. We have also lost the patience to listen because what our friend seems to be telling us is so boring that we seek something in our pocket that is more fun.

Because this alternative is easier for us to get into the conversation and make it more interesting. Because what we hear at the moment is monotonous and we have incorporated a technical output into our range of behaviors without any effort and as a way to get out of it.

Perhaps our lives are getting busier each day, but we are also increasingly impatient when it comes to tolerating having to pause for a moment. It is as if the stimuli that are not naturally stressful were infected by those that are. As if just lying down in be a while or listening to a good friend stresses us out. Let’s reflect, do we really want this?