The juggling exercise (What exactly do we know about multitasking?)

Whenever I turn my laptop on or pick up my phone, the multitasking starts straight away. It has become such an unconscious behaviour of mine.  Multitasking seems to be a technique many people adopt and use when they are browsing the internet, doing homework, watching television and connecting to their phone. The question is whether multitasking allows you to juggle many activities at once or whether attending various activities prevents you from giving your full attention to any of them.

“If you are doing several different things at once, then you may be what researchers refer to as a “heavy multitasker.” And you probably think that you are fairly good at this balancing act. According to a number of different studies, however, you are probably not as effective at multitasking as you think you are” (Cherry, 2014).


In a study conducted on the multitasking behaviour of television and computer usage it was found that the switching rate between both media sources to be high. It was found to have 120 switches per 27.5 minutes of media multitasking  (Brasel & Gips 2011). The participants were found to spend two thirds of their time on the computer, finding the gaze on the computer to be far longer than the average gaze recorded on the television. However, it was found that the gaze time on both media sources to be short with only 78% of television gaze and 49% of computer gaze lasting <5 seconds (Brasel & Gips 2011). This is further supported in the journal article ‘Multitasking’ which stated, “a study that shows people can only work for an average of eleven minutes before being distracted off task” (Osif, 2007).

As much as I like to ‘multitask’, I do find there are times when I just have to concentrate on the one task and limit myself to the one off Snapchat or text sent.  Sometimes being productive with a task requires the full 100% of your attention, otherwise activities or chores would not be completed in a desirable time.





Cherry, K (2014), about education “Multitasking-The Cognitive Costs of Multitasking”


Osif, B.A. 2007, Multitasking, American Library Association, Chicago.


Brasel, S, A & Gips, J (2011), Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(9): 527-534.


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