Today’s generation has been subjected to a high number of stimuli that affects the attention span of individuals whenever they are handling an important task. Technology has a particularly big role to play in the development of the multitasking culture because various innovative devices such as smartphones have facilitated the ability to communicate with others on call, online platforms, and other communication channels while simultaneously handling other tasks.
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Alina Tugend’s article focuses on multitasking as a major concern in performance enhancement (Tugend 725). The author begins by accurately revealing that there is nothing like multitasking. She reveals that when people assume that they are multitasking, they are only switching their focus from one task to the other, and the speed of switching is dependent on their cognitive flexibility level.
The article is quite enlightening because Tugend cites various psychological studies that have been conducted by researchers looking to establish the capability of the mind to multitask. The researchers agree that multi-tasking is a bad habit for individuals looking to enhance their performance level because they only give the important tasks a few minutes of concentration (Tugend 728). It is apparent that Tugend sticks her focus on the harmful effects of multitasking by revealing the findings from different studies that claim that the human mind can only attain efficiency if individuals can train themselves to focus on one task at a time.
However, Tugend contradicts her claims by revealing that some studies have shown that multitasking can enhance the speed of handling various tasks. In a paradigm where people are expected to deliver results at a fast rate, multitasking would facilitate high performance. Tugend also loses focus on her intended theme when she introduces evidence showing that based on the size of the human prefrontal cortex, individuals can concentrate on several tasks but they would have to switch from one task to the other (Tugend 727).
This is an indication that the human brain might be adapting to the constant need to multitask. While some of the studies reveal that multitasking results in lower performance because of the divided attention given to respective tasks, the process might be helpful in time saving, and routine multitasking can actually have positive effects on performance.
Tugend’s stance about multitasking is that it is harmful to the mind because it results in stress and overworking the brain with tasks that are not particularly helpful. She believes that humans should train themselves to focus on one task at a time, and this would ultimately improve their performance in relevant tasks, while also increasing their innovative abilities (Tugend 728). Juggling attention between many tasks weakens the ability of the mind to deliver high performance, and it results in fatigue. It is, therefore, clear that trying to handle more than one task at a time results in the loss of focus.
While Tugend’s article clearly reveals the effects of multitasking, it is also apparent that the human brain constantly shifts attention because of the various forms of stimuli around an individual. It is difficult to entirely concentrate on one task in an environment with a lot of noise in the form of different stimuli. Tugend’s article, therefore, should compel individuals to ensure that they handle every task in the appropriate environment to prevent attention shifts to other tasks.
Tugend, Alina. “Multitasking Can Make You Lose Um…Focus.” The Norton Field Guide To Writing, Richard Bullock et al., 1st ed., W.W. Norton & Company, New York City, 2008, pp. 725-730.