Why you should stop trying to do everything at once
Multi-tasking is one of the plagues of modern existence. We think it makes us extra productive, but it doesn’t. When we “multi-task,” we actually shift our attention rapidly from one thing to another. These rapid shifts cause two bad things: (1) we sacrifice the quantity of focused attention we give each task, and (2) we sacrifice the quality of our attention.
According to a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry, simultaneous exposure to electronic media during teenage years (e.g. playing a computer game while watching television) appears to be associated with increased depression and anxiety in young adulthood. Although this is just one form of multitasking, it highlights the negative effects it can cause.
In fact, multi-tasking does the complete opposite of what the brain is designed to do — and it causes a degree of brain damage. Over time, multi-tasking creates patterns of flightiness and poor concentration.
Deep, Focused Thought Is Better As a communication pathologist in the cognitive neuroscience field, I have repeatedly seen the benefits of focused thinking and disciplined concentration. When we think deeply, our brain responds with healthy patterns, circuits, and neurochemicals. Scientists have found that deep thinking activates the prefrontal cortex (the part of your brain that’s just above your eyebrows) in a positive way. It increases concentration, reduces distraction, and decreases emotional volatility.
Scientists have also found that this type of thinking improves connections throughout nerve networks in the brain. It also increases gyrification (or more folds in the cortex of the brain). These extra folds allow the brain to process information faster, make decisions quicker, and improve memory. Studies show that the more you apply a deep thought pattern in your brain, the more you will improve the physical structure of your brain.