Many people, especially teenagers, pride themselves on the ability to multitask. Studies of the brain, however have proven that multitasking is not something we are actually capable of.
So, if your is teen doing their homework while watching TV and texting friends, encourage them to focus on one thing at a time by sharing some research with them.
Our brains are able to do two things simultateously, but only if one is a lower level function and one is a higher level function. For example, this could be chewing gum and reading or breathing and driving.
When we try to divide our attention on two things like reading a text message and driving, our frontal lobe simply cannot comply. Instead, it repeatedly shifts the attention from one task to another, neglecting the task that is not the current focus.
This has been demonstrated by multiple studies for driving, as well as studying. Students are able to memorize and retain more information for longer spans of time when giving their full attention rather than trying to split attention.
Although it may seem like more fun to watch a show while completing homework, try reminding your teen that they will have to study far less if the time they spend is soley devoted to their work.
Many people enjoy listening to music while working. When completing high level brain functions, it’s best to keep the music simple and instrumental so as not to distract the brain with lyrics.
Set the example by completing one task at a time! I know I increase my productivity when I’m not lying to myself about my multitasking skills.