Science Says You Suck At Multitasking

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“I’m really good at multitasking” is a self-serving bias.

Multitasking kills your productivity.

When switching from one task to another, your attention doesn’t immediately follow. A residue of your attention remains stuck thinking about the original task.

Sophie Leroy, a business professor at the University of Minnesota, coined the term “Attention Residue.”

In her research, she found that “people experiencing attention residue after switching tasks are likely to demonstrate poor performance on that next task.”

As Cal Newport writes in his brilliant book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success In A Distracted World, “It might seem harmless to take a quick glance at your inbox [or LinkedIn notifications] every ten minutes or so.

That quick check introduces a new target for your attention. Even worse, by seeing messages you cannot deal with at the moment (which is almost always the case), you’ll be forced to turn back to the primary task with a secondary task left unfinished. The attention residue left by such unresolved switches dampens your performance.”

Scheduling uninterrupted blocks of intense focus on single tasks like #1 NYT Bestselling Author Mark Manson and Mogul CEO Tiffany Pham reduces the harmful effects that attention residue can have on our work.

Hear Mark Manson on Growth Mindset University:

Hear Tiffany Pham on Growth Mindset University:


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