For us college women, multitasking is pretty much the standard order. We’re writing a paper, but also listening to music and scrolling through Instagram. We’re in class taking notes, but also chatting with a friend and sending secret Snapchats from under the table. It’s our way of life, but it’s never seemed like a bad thing…until now. A team of researchers at Bryan College figured out that our multitasking habits are actually making us less productive and costing the U.S. economy about $450 billion in the process. The infographic they made will simultaneously scare you and also encourage you to change your millennial ways before they manifest in a large scale problem during your career—Oh yeah, and there are marshmallows involved, too.
What kind of issues can multitasking cause? Well, when you’re switching from one task to another every few minutes, you’re really taxing your brain. According to Bryan, multitasking can lower your IQ by 15 points (!) and is linked with having less density in the parts of your brain that deal with cognitive and emotional control. Basically, clicking back and forth between Facebook and your study guide has similar affects on your brain to not sleeping for a whole night. Multitasking makes you less productive—and on a larger scale, with millions of people doing it, it causes huge monetary losses through lack of productivity.
Instead of multitasking, experts say you should do one task at a time, giving it your full attention and getting rid of any distractions. That means working on your paper for 30 minutes without doing anything else—yup, not even looking at your phone. Once that time is up, you can move on to another task. You may find that you get more done in those 30 minutes than you would in an hour or two of multitasking!
It’s crazy to realize that seemingly harmless technological distraction and multitasking in college could transfer to a huge economic loss as soon as we enter the job world. But as painful as it is to say, it may be time to put down our phones and get some shit done.