Millennials are a generation of multitaskers. At any given moment, we might be ordering Dunkin’ Donuts from our smartphones while catching up on our favorite fashion podcast, sending work emails and fitting in some desk stretches. And even though the fact that we do all these things at once might make us feel more evolved, research shows that’s not exactly the case. While we might be accomplishing more tasks at once than previous generations, we’re not necessarily doing them well or as efficiently as we could be.
A team of researchers at Bryan College wanted to look at how exactly multitasking is impacting the workforce on a wider scale. They looked at a bunch of studies on multitasking and analyzed two different and common ways millennials work. The first was small-scale multitasking in terms of everyday responsibilities at work. They found that this kind of approach makes us much less productive, and that it actually costs the global economy a cool $450 million per year.
“Today’s tech-centric world means a lot of impulsive, quick shifts in direction,” the researchers write. “Amazingly, research shows millennials switch their attention between media platforms 27 times per hour. If you think they’re just getting a lot done, think again. Performing multiple cognitive tasks actually lowers people’s IQs by 15 points. Whoa. Researchers also say, “Multitasking on a regular basis can reflect lower emotional intelligence and less brain density in the areas controlling cognitive and emotional control.”
The second kind of multitasking the researchers looked at was larger-scale impulsivity, AKA job-hopping. While during our parents’ generation, it was much more common to work for one company for the course of an entire career, most millennials don’t stay in one job for more than three years. And even though a lot of career experts actually recommend job-hopping, especially at the beginning of your career, the larger-scale effects are actually pretty harsh. The researchers found that losing one millennial employee can cost a company between $15,000 and $25,000, and millennial job-hopping costs the US economy more than $30 million per year. Give the infographic below your undivided attention, and you may be convinced to start solo-tasking.
Yikes! Sounds like we’d all benefit from collectively finding a bit more focus.
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(Featured photo via Getty, infographic via Bryan College)