This is Your Brain on Multitasking

Kara Powell | Aug 31, 2009

Photo by Taras Shypka

So I've been a multitasker for as long as I can remember. Then this week I saw a recent research release by Stanford University News that challenges the effectiveness of multitasking.

I read the article while I was on hold with the DMV and my kids were playing Lincoln Logs in the room with me. Seriously.

I'm starting to wonder what effect multitasking is having on us. According to this study, we do tasks more poorly when were multitasking.

What are we modeling to teenagers when we talk on the cell phone and check e-mail simultaneously, all while listening to our iPod?

And what is happening to students who are engaged in driving, talking, and texting? What does that do to their long-term cognitive function?

What do our own kids learn by our modeling of rushing through life, juggling as much as we can? This latest research from Stanford shows us that these are questions we need to think seriously about and not just blow off because were too busy multitasking.

Gotta go. The DMV agent finally picked up the line.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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