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The Only One Way Your Brain Can Multitask Effectively

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The Only One Way Your Brain Can Multitask Effectively

I love multi-tasking. Maybe because I like the idea of getting as much done in as short a time as possible. I always want to be super effective so that I wring every single drop out of life whilst I’m living it.

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There is only one way, however, that we can do two things at the same time…

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We know instinctively that practicing two tasks that are majorly challenging at the same time would end in disaster. For example, we wouldn’t try learning how to drive at the same time as learning Portuguese. But there are other skills we already know that we can combine that will work and allow us to use our time effectively (i.e. if you already know how to drive, learning Portuguese might become a viable option).

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This is because the skill of multitasking comes down to how much memory you are using for each task. When learning one new skill, you need a lot of brain space to be able to make sense of it all. So learning two skills at the same time becomes near impossible – you will learn at a much slower rate, at best.

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But if you are doing something that has become habitual and you know so well that you could do it with your eyes closed, then multitasking becomes a viable option. Think of it like juggling: once we’re well-practiced at juggling one ball, we can feel completely comfortable adding in another, but only at the point when we really know how to juggle.

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So there you have it, multitasking doesn’t work when learning a new skill. Unless you use this one tip – to only accompany what you’re doing with a habit well set-up over time. That way, you will never have a dull moment waiting in a queue, driving home from work, or washing-up again!

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Daniel Owen van Dommelen

Coder, Director, Writer, Human

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