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Don't Multitask. Get Better at Task Switching. You may think your multitasking, but you're actually task switching. Learn how to switch tasks more efficiently and productively.

By Kumar Rajan

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We have been told that multitasking is good for work productivity, but we intuitively know constant multitasking makes us stressed out. This is because the word 'multitasking' itself contradicts what we do. After all, we do not multitask. Computers do; humans don't. We task switch.

The word "multitasking" implies that you can do two or more things at once. But our brains only allow us to do one thing at a time, and we must switch back and forth. The human brain is unable to switch 'contexts' when switching tasks. This affects performance and increases stress.

Task switching is not anything new. But task switching with many sources of information is a new challenge. The constant streams of information from emails, chats, phone calls, documents impose new burdens on memory. Recalling details while switching from one topic to another, requires mental aerobics. How do you task switch without losing your train of thought?