back arrowMind Over Stress

How to Escape the Multitasking Trap

Episode description

How to Escape the Multitasking Trap - 3 Simple Steps to Release Stress and Improve Performance

How often do you get caught up in the hectic swirl of trying juggle six tasks at once, only to do none of them well?

“If I only push harder”, you say to yourself.

“Yes, I will redouble my effort and do even more so all of these tasks get done!”.

The Truth About Multitasking

Here’s a seldom heard truth: The parts of your brain handling conscious procedural tasks typically associated with day-to-day cognitive activities aren’t wired for multitasking. Your brainstem and midbrain sections handle parallel processing tasks with ease. The prefrontal cortex, that brain region where conscious cognition occurs, handles one task at a time.

What is actually happening when you think you’re multitasking? Your attention is moving rapidly from one activity to another. Five seconds here, three seconds there, and 10 seconds to several minutes of confusion trying to figure out what to do next.

With each transfer of attention, there is performance friction. There is a time and brain energy cost every time you change focus. We are serial processors trying to make believe we have the ability for parallel processing. We don’t.

Trying to multitask results in your brain using up energy faster than your physiology can recharge the batteries. Your body tries valiantly to keep up, but as your energy wanes, you hit a brain performance wall.

Stress and It’s Effect on the Sympathetic Nervous System

Here we have an old friend named Stress begin knocking on our emotional door. One major stress trigger is the perception that we have too many tasks to complete in a given time time period without the necessary resources.

Under stress the Sympathetic Nervous System, also called the Fight or Flight response, becomes hyperactive. Blood flow to higher brain regions including the Prefrontal Cortex, that area where rational thought normally hangs out, is reduced in favor of energizing large muscle groups in preparation to fight the tiger or run to safety.

The simple fact is we become significantly more stupid when we’re highly stressed. This makes it virtually impossible to perform well any of the tasks we so valiantly attempt to complete.

3 Simple Actions for Better Performance

What are the antidotes for the multitasking trap?

First, recognize multitasking is a myth. Your brain is wired to attend to one conscious task at a time. This is physiological fact.

Second, use what are called Focus Intervals. Schedule ONE task at a time and stick with that task until it’s done or you’ve worked on that task for no more than 45 minutes.

Third, take short, three to five minute breaks every 45 to 60 minutes. Get up, walk around, stretch, run in place, engage in relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, or engage in other energy restorative activities before returning to work.

Want extra bonus points? Turn off your phone and close out from all social media sites. They’re distractions that waste time and take energy away from productive, higher value activities.

For more Stress Mastery and Mindful Living tips, visit us at and listen to the latest “Mind Over Stress” podcast episodes at

episodes iconMore Episodes

3 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life for Simplify Your Life Week

August 6th, 2019

“3 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life” Show Notes

“Simplify Your Life Week” is celebrated for one week every August. In support of this celebration, in this “3 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life”, episode we look at three ways …

Can a "Thank You" Note Enhance Emotional Wellbeing?

June 13th, 2019

Show Notes: Episode 13, "Mind Over Stress" Show.

Can a "Thank You" Note Ehance Emotional Wellbeing?

In this episode, you’ll discover why taking just two or three minutes to write a short note of appreciation can create …

Fall Asleep Fast With This Special Breathing Pattern

April 9th, 2019

Show Notes:
You learn how to use the simple 4-7-8 breathing pattern to help you fall asleep fast. This breath pattern can also be used anytime to create the relaxation response and calm mind and body to reduce stress.

How to Apply Sensual Loving Touch for Emotional Well-being

November 14th, 2018

In this, "Mind Over Stress" Episode, you'll experience a gentle self-care method called, Loving Touch.

Loving Touch uses fingertips to stroke sensitive areas of your hands with soothing, gentle movements. You can also …

Pain Relief With Easy Mindful Awareness Plus a Guided Meditation

September 18th, 2018

Show Notes: Pain Reduction With Mindful Awareness

In this episode of Mind Over Stress, you learn about two important research studies establishing the …

Good Stress, Bad Stress, and No Stress With Mindful Breathing

August 13th, 2018

In this episode of "Mind Over Stress", we answer the question, "Is there such a thing as good stress?". We then look at what creates "bad stress" and why its important to discover the key distinctions between good and …

Mind Over Stress - Preview Episode

April 4th, 2018

The Mind Over Stress Show will give you the tools, techniques, and mindset to create optimum wellbeing. Some episodes will include interviews with …

Loading ...

Download the RadioPublic app for
 FREE and never miss an episode.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store