A new study published in PLOS ONE has found that people who attempt to multi-task the most often are also the ones who perform worst while doing it.

Researchers at the University of Utah asked a group of undergrads to rate their own multi-tasking ability and then put them to the test, memorising letter sequences interspersed with simple math equations.

The result:
Those who practice multi-tasking the most often and rated themselves the most proficient were the ones who performed the worst on the test. Ironically, the students in the top 25 per cent of performers were also the least likely to multi-task on a regular basis.

Adding insult to injury for frequent multi-taskers, the researchers also found that they were also more likely to be impulsive thrill-seekers.

As study author David Strayer elegantly put it: "The people who multi-task the most tend to be impulsive, sensation-seeking, overconfident of their multitasking abilities, and they tend to be less capable of multitasking." Ouch . . .

Strayer and co concluded that multi-tasking was less of a special talent and more of an ADHD-type behaviour. In other words, self-proclaimed multi-taskers were simply unable to focus on one task at a time.

Get single-minded. Use these tips from efficiency experts to get more done in your day without falling into the multi-tasking trap.

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