Avionics News September 2014 - 59

employer gave her Dave Crenshaw's book, The Myth of
Multitasking.
Yet in it, she saw all the reasons she worked late every
night, and that led her to redefine her work practices
toward greater efficiency. Since then, debunking this
myth has become one of her most popular speaking
topics, and she said her clients are amazed when they
see the research and the activities that demonstrate its
shortcomings.
The research is definitive. According to studies at
Stanford, among others, people who describe themselves
as frequent multitaskers perform in ways that could
be considered liabilities. They're most likely to have
unreasonably high opinions of their skills, they're more
impulsive and have difficulty regulating their focus, and
they tend to be unable to filter irrelevant from relevant
information needed to perform their duties. They're
constantly in mental overload. As a result, they fail to
prioritize; they're constantly firefighting on deadline,
and they live amid chaos disguised as busy-busy
performance.
The exercises are humbling. For example,
she times workshop
participants as they write
the alphabet, and then the
numbers 1 through 26. Next,
she times them writing one
letter then a number, then
another letter, and so on.
The second result is usually
done in twice the amount
of time than the first, and
participants often make
errors in something they've
known since first grade. Other exercises,
including those used in formal university
studies, get even more complicated. MRI
scans show participants' brains grind as they
try to change gears.
BAD HABITS
So if multitasking were so bad, you'd
think we'd stop doing it. But we live
in a more-with-less business
culture. There are a few
cases where it does
Photo courtesy of Fotolia.com
work, but in general,

we lack awareness of the many problems it causes.
The desire to look productive is the first problem. "It's
almost a badge of honor - how busy am I? I'm sooo
busy," Luoma said. "It's a cultural phenomenon that's
happening right now."
Our brains aren't helping. We're addicted to the rush
of checking off our to-do list; it releases dopamine in our
brain that triggers the same pleasure points as narcotic
drugs. And we instinctively like novelty. The new email
is a shiny object to discover, and we get a buzz from
starting new projects that outweighs the grown-up
satisfaction of finishing old ones.
But the rapid swapping of tasks releases stress hormones
in our bodies. According to the National Institute of
Neurological Disorders, chronic multitaskers have higher
stress levels than the rest of the population. In the short
term, this can result in memory and performance issues.
According to a study by the University of London's
Institute of Psychiatry, multitasking results in a 10-point
IQ drop, about the same as losing a night's sleep or
casual marijuana use. In the long run, it can impair
concentration and learning.
And if that's not bad enough,
it can hurt your relationships
with co-workers, families and
friends who don't get your
full attention. It may even
contribute to overeating;
your distracted brain
doesn't tell you when
you're full, which partly
explains why you eat an
entire tub of ice cream while
watching a movie.
To complicate things, there are
some circumstances when we can switchtask. Certainly, if we have enough time
to comfortably move between tasks - for
example, when we're on eternal hold with
the cable company - we might be able to
answer an email or two. Or when we're
doing low-intensity tasks by rote memory
in the "background," or when we're
using different brain functions such as
Continued on following page

avionics news

*

september

2014

59


http://www.Fotolia.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News September 2014

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View from Washington
International News and Regulatory Updates
Software Management
Member Profile
Keeping a business in the family
Are digital avionics secure?
A Conversation With...
Meet the AEA board of directors
Before & After
The Autonomous Navigation Systems AET Endorsement
Aviation Aces
Legal Ease
Business Basics
Member Profile
AEA members unveil new ADS-B solutions at AirVenture
What's New
Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News September 2014 - Intro
Avionics News September 2014 - Cover1
Avionics News September 2014 - Cover2
Avionics News September 2014 - 1
Avionics News September 2014 - 2
Avionics News September 2014 - 3
Avionics News September 2014 - Point of Communication
Avionics News September 2014 - 5
Avionics News September 2014 - AEA Now
Avionics News September 2014 - 7
Avionics News September 2014 - 8
Avionics News September 2014 - 9
Avionics News September 2014 - 10
Avionics News September 2014 - 11
Avionics News September 2014 - 12
Avionics News September 2014 - 13
Avionics News September 2014 - The View from Washington
Avionics News September 2014 - 15
Avionics News September 2014 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News September 2014 - 17
Avionics News September 2014 - 18
Avionics News September 2014 - 19
Avionics News September 2014 - Software Management
Avionics News September 2014 - 21
Avionics News September 2014 - 22
Avionics News September 2014 - 23
Avionics News September 2014 - Member Profile
Avionics News September 2014 - 25
Avionics News September 2014 - 26
Avionics News September 2014 - 27
Avionics News September 2014 - Keeping a business in the family
Avionics News September 2014 - 29
Avionics News September 2014 - 30
Avionics News September 2014 - 31
Avionics News September 2014 - 32
Avionics News September 2014 - 33
Avionics News September 2014 - Are digital avionics secure?
Avionics News September 2014 - 35
Avionics News September 2014 - 36
Avionics News September 2014 - 37
Avionics News September 2014 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News September 2014 - 39
Avionics News September 2014 - Meet the AEA board of directors
Avionics News September 2014 - 41
Avionics News September 2014 - Before & After
Avionics News September 2014 - 43
Avionics News September 2014 - The Autonomous Navigation Systems AET Endorsement
Avionics News September 2014 - 45
Avionics News September 2014 - 46
Avionics News September 2014 - 47
Avionics News September 2014 - Aviation Aces
Avionics News September 2014 - 49
Avionics News September 2014 - 50
Avionics News September 2014 - 51
Avionics News September 2014 - Legal Ease
Avionics News September 2014 - 53
Avionics News September 2014 - 54
Avionics News September 2014 - 55
Avionics News September 2014 - 56
Avionics News September 2014 - 57
Avionics News September 2014 - Business Basics
Avionics News September 2014 - 59
Avionics News September 2014 - 60
Avionics News September 2014 - 61
Avionics News September 2014 - 62
Avionics News September 2014 - 63
Avionics News September 2014 - Member Profile
Avionics News September 2014 - 65
Avionics News September 2014 - AEA members unveil new ADS-B solutions at AirVenture
Avionics News September 2014 - 67
Avionics News September 2014 - 68
Avionics News September 2014 - 69
Avionics News September 2014 - 70
Avionics News September 2014 - 71
Avionics News September 2014 - What's New
Avionics News September 2014 - 73
Avionics News September 2014 - 74
Avionics News September 2014 - 75
Avionics News September 2014 - 76
Avionics News September 2014 - 77
Avionics News September 2014 - Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News September 2014 - 79
Avionics News September 2014 - 80
Avionics News September 2014 - Cover3
Avionics News September 2014 - Cover4
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