By Nero S.
Have you ever texted while watching television only to realize you have no idea what is going on in the show? Or how about had a conversation on the phone while driving only to hang up your call and realize you don’t remember half your drive? Both of these questions and tasks fall under the umbrella of multitasking. We all think we can multitask but the reality is, not only are we not doing two tasks at once, we are not doing either to our full capability.
In life we get bogged down with so many tasks and sometimes we feel like combining them is our best chance at getting them all done. I too thought this was the case. After joining Anne Marie at Teens Learn to Drive, I was assigned to facilitate a station about distracted driving for our Sweet Life Road Show teen events in high schools. We had to do a ‘brain game’ called ‘Distract-a-match’. The game involves a mat, on which students need to match shapes by corresponding colour in the allotted space. Students are given 30 seconds to do it as fast as possible and typically, they will all finish in the time given.
The second part of the activity requires the student to do the same task while reading a long text message – they are given 30 seconds to do this as well. This is where the peer group notices that the student participating isn’t truly multitasking; they are bouncing between both tasks. They are reading a little bit and going back to shapes and matching a few – not really doing anything at the same time.
The most important take away is that multitasking is a myth. We should not multitask if we want to get the tasks at hand done to the best of our ability. We should especially avoid multitasking when it pertains to driving. You are operating a 3,000-pound vehicle that could really hurt you or someone around you. If you are driving, that is the most important task you are performing so stay alert and focused!