How skilled are people at multitasking?

Multitasking While Learning: How Well Does the Approach Really Work?

Multitasking works under this condition

Is that why multitasking is always a bad idea? Not quite, because there is an application in which the brain can actually process two activities in parallel. The following requirement must be met:

One of the two tasks runs automatically as a routine. The second activity, on the other hand, may require a high level of concentration.

You know this phenomenon from many everyday situations. For example, you can talk to a friend (concentration required) and walk at the same time (pure routine). You can do the household chores (pure routine) and listen to the radio (concentration required) at the same time.

There are many other examples in which multitasking works. But we'd rather focus on a more important question:

What does knowing multitasking mean for your learning style?

You already know that multitasking doesn't work and it's best not to try it in the first place. Usually this only leads to mistakes and poor performance. The only exception: one of the two activities is routine.

To conclude, we want to address the question: How can you use this knowledge to learn optimally? Omitting multitasking is certainly an option, but how does that work? And how do you cleverly use multitasking to save time?

I would like to recommend three concrete approaches:

# 1 Accurate planning, for your brain too

I think a detailed study plan is essential for a number of reasons. On the one hand, you can use it to ensure that you have processed all of the content by the time you take the exam. On the other hand, you create a clear order in your brain.

If you have clearly defined in advance when you will do which tasks, there is no risk of trying to multitask. When a topic is on the agenda, you focus solely on it. You can hide everything else, because other times are in your planning for this.

Multitasking is no longer an option.

# 2 calm, calm, calm

Create clear spaces for yourself to study, in which you isolate yourself from all other things: Put your cell phone in another place. Ask your family or roommate to leave you completely alone for a while (not even to disturb “just for a moment”). Only open programs on the PC that you really need to study.

This isolation is an indispensable factor for successful and above all efficient learning. Keep practicing it so that you will become a master of concentration by the time you graduate.

# 3 Save time with targeted multitasking

Earlier you got to know a constellation in which multitasking works: One of the two activities has to be routine.

You should use this opportunity to gain new learning time. Whenever you do a routine task, you can study on the side. Here are a few examples:

  • You can listen to audio recordings while driving your car. Either you use purchased content or you speak your own learning texts. With a smartphone this is no longer a problem at all.
  • Watch tutorial videos while you iron your laundry or clean the windows.
  • Take your index cards with you when you go for a walk in the park or when you want to sunbathe. Then you can always look at your texts and learn on the side.

Take a look around in your everyday life, where routine tasks can be found that primarily cost time. Then think of a way to combine these activities with learning.

Focus instead of multitasking

If you want to learn efficiently for your further education, clear learning times with an absolute focus are still the best option. With the knowledge of multitasking you can create additional time for learning and combine annoying routine tasks with meaningful learning. With these two approaches, nothing stands in the way of a successful final exam.