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Does multitasking actually work?

If you've got a lot on your plate, it's *totally* understandable if you turn to multitasking. After all, juggling your AP homework *and* prepping for the spring musical, all while editing for the school paper, can turn out to be more work than you realized—and you may find yourself feeling burned out and without enough time to do it all. The first thing that probably pops into your mind when you hear the word "multitasking" is doing a million different things at once in order to be more productive. Yes, multitasking does mean doing lots of things, but plot twist: They aren't at the same time. Although tempting, here's why multitasking might be doing more harm than good.

The truth about multitasking

You may feel unstoppable as you answer trig problems as you watch New Girl while you're also catching your bestie up on your newest interactions with your crush on the phone. The truth is, although you may feel like you're being more productive when you multitask, you aren't even multitasking! According to Cynthia Kubu, PhD, "When we think we're multitasking, most often we aren't really doing two things at once, but instead, we're doing individual actions in rapid succession, or task switching." Turns out, when you think you're doing it all simultaneously, your brain's actually switching between tasks super quickly...which can make your tasks take even *longer* (sigh). Plus, when you multitask, you can't work as effectively!

What to do instead 

So...you can't multitask (or at least shouldn't if you want to make the most of your time). What should you do instead? The *best* possible way to juggle everything you need to do—from chem studying to helping your little bro with his HW—is to focus completely and fully on one task at a time. Make sure you're 100% present with the task and are doing the best that you can to focus (we'd recommend tossing your phone aside for a little). When you start to do this, you'll notice a shift in your productivity—and there's *nothing* more satisfying than checking more things off of your to-do list.

Need more time management tips? Check out these related posts:
⏰  Manage your time like a *pro*
⏰  How to use Google Calendar to organize your entire life this year 
⏰  Quiz—which time management tool is best for you?
⏰  How to make room for social life and hobbies during a busy school year 

How do you manage your time? Tell us on Twitter @girlslifemag

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by Eva Mandelbaum | 3/28/2022
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