Multitasking is Nothing to Brag About and it Can Create Adult ADHD and Lower Performance in the Bedroom (and so can smartphone use, porn, and video games)

The most successful and happy people in the world avoid multitasking like the plague

"Task residue" is the leftover cognitive load that occurs when someone switches between tasks. Multitasking has a massive amount of task residue, where the time and energy spent on one task affects and lowers the performance of another. Task residue will cause a decrease in productivity, as well as an increase in anxiety and stress.  When a person multitasks, their brain is constantly switching back and forth between tasks. This switching requires energy, which can quickly drain a persons mental resources. As a result, the tasks being performed are not done at full capacity, leading to a decrease in productivity. 

Multitasking can also be called "Dopamine Switching", because as the activity switches, so does the source of dopamine. Dopamine is what makes the mind stay alert and focused on something, which can be detrimental when there is a frequent change. This trains the mind to never be deeply focused on a single activity as a person perform's their daily activities. This creates a state of anxiety.

Task Switching = Attention Switching = Dopamine Switching = Multitasking

(They are all the same) ⬆️

The neuroscience of task residue is interesting. When a person switches between tasks, their brain has to quickly adjust to the new task. This requires it to activate certain neural pathways in order to process the new information and perform the task. However, when a person switches back to a task that they have already been working on, their brain has to re-activate the same neural pathways that it used to perform the task. This re-activation requires energy, which can quickly drain a person’s mental resources and lead to a decrease in productivity. Additionally, the stress and anxiety caused by task residue can be linked to the activation of the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for our emotions and feelings of fear and anxiety.

Task residue lowers a person's productivity, especially when the tasks being performed require deep concentration and focus, such as writing or problem-solving. The constant switching of tasks can also lead to frustration and irritability, as a person is constantly trying to regain their focus and energy.  

Additionally, the stress and anxiety caused by task residue can lead to burnout and fatigue, which can affect a person’s overall performance and well-being. For example, the fatigue and burnout from task residue at work can mean that there is no energy to engage with family at home in a meaningful way. It could also leave a person drained so that they do not have the energy to work on personal goals outside of work. 

✅ Anytime you take a break at work, avoid checking your phone! Checking your phone will do the opposite of providing rest for your mind. You will end your break feeling more fatigued or anxious if you check your phone. Go for a short walk or look out of a window and gaze into the distance instead, this will provide a mini rest and neurochemical rejuvenation in your mind, setting you up to better handle your next activity/task. ✅

Multitasking/Dopamine Switching can have a negative impact on sleep quality because it can lead to increased levels of stress, which can make it more difficult to relax and fall asleep. Additionally, Dopamine Switching during the day can lead to an anxious, wandering mind at night, making sleep difficult. Multitasking can lead to increased levels of screen time, which can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep.

Social media, short video clips, scrolling activity (long reads could be an exception), jumping from app to app, and checking emails frequently will also contribute to massive amounts of task residue. When a person frequently interrupts tasks by checking their smartphone, it can have a major impact on their productivity and increase their stress levels. The constant dopamine switching and interruption between tasks can lead to a major decrease in focus and attention, which can cause a person to make more mistakes and take longer to complete tasks. The average American checks their phone 47 times per day! 

A person who watches porn regularly or plays video games is also much more likely to fall victim to multitasking behavior and extremely likely to have more anxiety.  This is largely due to the fact that the very large dopamine experience from watching porn or playing video games will leave a person feeling dopamine depleted in the time between those activities. It's technically mini dopamine withdrawal symptoms due to changing one's neurochemical baseline levels to dopamine.  This makes the mind continually seek and engage in multitasking behavior in order find an activity that is more satisfying with a larger amount of dopamine experienced, but ultimately, leaves a person more anxious, drained of energy, and less satisfied.

Click Here if you have a porn problem 

Multitasking, smartphone use, video games, and porn can create adult ADHD symptoms. ADHD is a disorder characterized by difficulty focusing, impulsiveness, and sometimes hyperactivity. When a person multitasks and frequently switches between activities, it can lead to a decrease in focus and attention, which can lead to symptoms of ADHD. Additionally, the constant checking of social media and other smart phone use can cause a person to become easily distracted and have difficulty focusing on the task at hand. 

Multitasking leads to "Wandering Mind Syndrome". This is not a diagnosable syndrome, but you get the idea. The published paper is called, "A Wandering mind is an Unhappy Mind". Read Here.

Multitasking/Dopamine Switching makes it impossible to enter what is called, "Flow State". Flow State has been called the neurochemical definition of happiness, where a person is so entranced in their activity, they get lost in time and virtually forget that anything else in the world exists while engaged in that activity. In fact, when deep in flow state, it is impossible to experience physical or emotional pain or discomfort, because the mind places no attention on those things. Flow state is a part of Deep Work. Deep work is a way of life and it's also the title of a book by Cal Newport on how to achieve this lifestyle. This article was inspired by that book, and by neurobiologist Dr. Andrew Huberman. Deep Flow State will make a person as much as 5x more productive in the same window of time, compared to a person who is engaged in multitasking/dopamine switching activities. 

In addition, a person who engages in daily multitasking will find that full focus and engagement in all other non-multitasking activities will likely be quite difficult, because their mind has been anxiously accustomed to task switching, which is the same thing as attention switching. This not only lowers performance, enjoyment, and productivity of any given activity, but it can also have a negative impact on relationships with other people. For example, it may be difficult to be focused and engaged in conversations with others. This is not only true for the words being said, but more importantly the body language that is being subconsciously communicated. Most of communication takes place through body language, followed by tone of voice, followed by choice of words. It's critically important to focus on these things without distraction in order to have effective communication and listening skills. There is a difference between effortless engagement and forced engagement. A lifestyle with too much multitasking can make effortless engagement extremely difficult. Forced engagement feels like a chore and is not enjoyable. 

This can lower communication skills because important things might be missed. It can also make the other person feel like you don't care much about them or what they have to say because they can tell that you are not fully engaged. This can really have detrimental effects on relationships. Porn and video games in a person's life can have the same effect. It can even distract a person's mind when trying to be intimate and have a sexual experience with their partner. This means that multitasking, video games, porn, and excessive phone use during the day can lower the quality of your sex life at night with your partner! Flow State During Sex Click Here 

The best way to prevent the detrimental effects of task residue from smartphone use is to use it as tool and not as entertainment. When you use it as a tool, do task chunking, where you stick to a single task for a chunk of time until that task is done. If possible, do not return to that task in the same day.


Action Steps For Increased Productivity, Stellar Focus, and Lowered anxiety

1) Eliminate phone as a form of entertainment and use it strictly as a tool. 

2) Turn off all notifications from your phone.

3) Time Chunk your daily tasks in time blocks with zero interruptions or distractions.

4) Visit each task only once per day where possible.  Create a timed and scheduled order for each one. Keep that same order every day. (email, group chats, organizing and cleaning, making phone calls, writing, etc...) 

5) Don't keep your phone at your workspace or within sight unless your phone is your tool for that task.

6) If you must be reachable throughout the day, check your phone between tasks, not during tasks. Be "unreachable" whenever possible and time chunk when you get back to people.

7) Reduce or eliminate porn, video games, social media, and other scrolling activities.

8) Doing activities such meditation, yoga, breathwork, or taking a walk, can help to replenish the neurochemicals in your mind and reduce anxiety to be able to focus and be more productive. This can be for a few short minutes between activities and time chunks, and it can be for longer sessions when not at work. 

9) Work on setting a limit to the number of times per day you pick up your phone. For example, 10 times per day means you must be very intentional with a stronger purpose behind it. 


Note: Compulsive phone checking, gaming, or porn use could mean that you are subconsciously dissatisfied/stressed in your career or in other areas of your life, such as your relationships or your self care. If you find yourself getting bored due to being under-challenged in life, you might notice that you check your phone, or get lost in porn, video games, social media, Youtube, etc, rather than finding something that is meaningful and viscerally satisfying, such as in relationship building, a career that gives you purpose, and healthy activities that generate a neurochemical "Flow State", which you will want in your career and personal life.......

......Additionally, you might be overly challenged so you check your phone as a momentary "checking out" from the challenge or stresses you are facing (escapism behavior). Take a deep dive into all areas of your life and consider what changes might need to take place in your life in order for you be viscerally (subconsciously) satisfied. The solution will never involve multitasking or digital entertainment.


Check out this episode by neurobiologist Dr. Andrew Huberman, where he covers what's in this article and beyond. The very end is where he talks about how smartphone use can create adult ADHD, or make preexisting ADHD worse. 




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