What is Multitasking? Pros and Cons and Tips!

Multitasking – Actually, the term “multitasking” has various definitions, especially in the field of computer programs and everyday human abilities. If in the field of computer programs, the term leads to the notion of a method of processing programs simultaneously while using CPU resources. However, in terms of human ability in everyday life, of course the term will have a different definition, namely the human ability to carry out several tasks simultaneously.

If you look at the brief definition, Sinaumed’s will definitely think that this is natural and not impossible because many people have succeeded in doing it. When in fact, humans cannot have good multitasking abilities, you know… Then actually, what is multitasking? Why can’t humans have good multitasking abilities? Does this ability actually have a negative impact on our daily productivity?

So, so that Sinaumed’s doesn’t misunderstand this, let’s look at the following review!

Definition of Multitasking

Basically, multitasking is the human ability to cope with the many tasks received, by carrying out activities in the form of changing tasks. Many experts have formulated the definition of this multitask. According to Applebaum and Marchionni (2008), stated that multitasking is a condition when the task becomes double (dual task) or more, then done together at one time. Then there is also the opinion of Salvucci and Tangen (2011) who argue that multitasking is when there are multiple tasks that are done simultaneously in just a short time.

In short, multitasking is human behavior when working on tasks simultaneously at one time with the hope that they will be completed quickly, usually the number of tasks is more than two. When carrying out this multitasking behavior, individuals tend to give longer attention to one task, before finally moving on to another task. Although in fact, this behavior will actually occur due to overlapping attention to the tasks.

These assignments can vary , not only in the form of scientific assignments from schools, campuses, or offices. Homework in the form of cleaning the bathroom tub, ironing clothes, sweeping, washing dishes, these are also tasks that are usually carried out by housewives through this multitasking behavior.

Although in fact, this behavior is considered unhealthy, especially in the mindset of the human brain. But in fact, this behavior is much needed in completing tasks in everyday life. Even in this behavior, many people try to regulate their “actions going forward” so that they can immediately complete several tasks properly and efficiently.

This phenomenon is actually not a new phenomenon, it is even possible that Sinaumed’s often does it in an effort to complete daily tasks. This behavior is usually carried out by individuals in every activity, be it when working, eating, even in relaxed conditions. Without realizing it, this multitasking behavior can actually cause distraction. According to a survey conducted by Russ and Crews in 2014, when carrying out this multitasking behavior, it took them an average of about 9.28 minutes to switch back from the side task to the main task.

According to Salvucci and Tangen, this multitasking behavior can indeed help and increase human productivity to make it more efficient and effective. Especially if the number of tasks or work is more than two and must be completed at the same time. Unfortunately, this behavior actually greatly affects the ability of human memory.

Types of Multitasking

Previously, it was explained that multitasking is human behavior to do tasks simultaneously at one time. Salvucci and Tangen (2011) have classified this behavior into two types, namely concurrent multitasking and sequential multitasking.

1. Concurrent Multitasking

Namely human behavior in carrying out tasks simultaneously with short “time cuts”, so that it does not hinder the work process of the main task at all. Activities in this type of multitasking allow individuals to carry out their tasks simultaneously and efficiently, in order to improve work performance. For example: taking notes while listening to discussions during meetings, driving while reading maps from Google Maps, listening to learning videos while taking notes.

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2. Sequential Multitasking

In this type of multitasking, it is in the form of individual behavior to switch tasks after doing one main task. In order to be able to carry out Sequential Multitasking, it requires the ability to focus and full attention. For example: typing assignments and then moving on to other tasks in the form of correcting work, waiting for water to boil while reading a book.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Multitasking

Advantages of Multitasking Behavior

  1. Work gets done faster. Because, you will be working on two or more different jobs at the same time.
  2. Save more time. So that you can complete other activities when your task or work has been completed.

Disadvantages of Multitasking Behavior

  1. It can actually reduce performance and productivity. This is because concentration and focus will be split while working on two tasks simultaneously. There is even a possibility that you will get a lot of mistakes, so like it or not you also have to repeat your work again.
  2. Can trigger stress on the mind.
  3. Reducing self-ability in creative thinking. This of course will be critical, especially if your assignment is related to things that require creativity.
  4. Disturbing memory. Because, you don’t do your job in detail so you will most likely encounter a lot of mistakes.

The Impact of Multitasking That Turns Out to Reduce Human Productivity

Reporting from Sehatq.com , this behavior actually has a negative impact, both on health and on the results of the job. So, here are some of the impacts that might be taken into consideration by Sinaumed’s when they want to do multitasking.

1. Lowering Focus

When doing multitask activities, surely our thoughts and focus will be divided for one task with another. Especially if these two tasks require high focus. An example is calling while driving a motorized vehicle.

In these activities, the focus will be divided on calling activities and driving vehicles. If you only look away for a moment, then one of the tasks will have the potential to experience an error so that it can be shaky and even dangerous.

2. Work Takes Longer to Complete

Even though many people believe that multitasking can make us save more time when doing tasks, it turns out that this is not entirely true, you know . Especially if these two tasks do take a long time to complete.

There is even research from the University of Utah which states that driving a vehicle while chatting on a cell phone actually takes longer to arrive at their destination, compared to those who focus on driving only.

3. Make Creativity Power Decrease

You need to know , Sinaumed’s , that multitasking behavior can actually make your brain work harder. Although it is true that the capacity of the brain is large, if it is used to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, of course it will burden the brain. If that’s the case, then the power of creativity in the brain will also decrease so that the results of our work are not optimal.

4. Interfere with Brain Memory

When multitasking, surely you will forget the details of one or even the two tasks you are doing. For example, if you read a novel while watching television, surely your memory for both the contents of the novel and television will be disturbed. Therefore, try to focus and complete one task first, then move on and complete other tasks.

Especially if you are an adult, you must be able to make a priority scale to determine which work to do first, okay?

5. Adding Stress

Based on research conducted by the University of California Irvine, states that multitasking can make individuals alert and at the same time have a higher heart rate. The research subjects are office workers who apply multitasking behavior in the form of doing work while accessing work email.

Not infrequently, this multitasking behavior can lead to depression and other anxiety disorders.

Multitasking Tricks For Office Workers

  1. Always use a to do list on the work to be done. Then identify which jobs are easier and schedule your work time according to the targets on the job list.
  2. Choose similar tasks. The way to find out which tasks are similar is to see if these tasks have the same process or not.
  3. Avoid distraction alias diversion of focus while doing the task. Usually by avoiding using a smartphone while focusing on doing tasks.
  4. Take advantage of existing technology. An example is by turning on the automatic reply feature on your e-mail or social media. Especially if you’re on vacation.
  5. Always evaluate the results of work. Before you turn in your assignments, try to check them again for errors. If there is, you can reduce your multitasking behavior in the future.
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State of the Brain in Multitasking Behavior

Based on research in a journal article entitled “Memory in Multitasking” by Ni Made Swasti Wulanyani, states that the brain’s ability to act more and more in this multitasking behavior, especially in aspects of memory as well as human cognitive control.

In terms of human memory, this multitasking behavior will definitely be related to the role of prospective memory and working memory . Prospective memory is the brain’s ability to remember what things to do in the future. We often use the existence of this prospective memory , for example there is a child trying to remember that he has to borrow books from the library to use in doing homework.

The role of prospective memory in multitasking behavior can also be proven by individuals who experience problems in the application of strategies and organizations, for example when they are unable to meet deadlines and keep promises simultaneously. In the brain, there is a Brodmann Area 10 or commonly called the frontal pole which plays an important role in multitasking situations. Then working memory is a memory resource that has limited capacity and duration, especially when processing information. The function of working memory is to temporarily store information when completing a particular task.

The involvement of prospective memory and working memory in multitasking behavior actually requires a slow response time, especially when the need arises to perform prospective tasks. The slow response is related to the working memory capacity of each individual.

Multitasking Ability In Guiding Children Activities

Based on research from a journal article entitled “The Multitasking Role of Parents in Guiding Children’s Learning” conducted by Metros Prihatin, states that multitasking behavior does not always have to be done to complete multiple tasks at one time, but can also be done when guiding children. Sinaumed’s must have known that children’s learning patterns are not always carried out at school, but also at home, so that the role of parents will also act as big as the teacher. In accordance with the Educational Trilogy put forward by Ki Hajar Dewantara, that education is a shared responsibility between families, schools and society.

Parents are also obligated and fully responsible for participating in educating and preparing their children so that they can later lead a social life. To carry out the role of an ideal parent, it sometimes requires multitasking behavior, namely by dividing the focus between daily work and educating children. Both the father and mother also play a major role in parenting.

In this day and age, many fathers are multitasking by doing their daily work while accompanying their children. Let’s say there is a father who sells while accompanying his son who is doing his homework. There are also those who are taking care of fish ponds while accompanying their children who are doing PAS. Then there is also a father who is preparing fertilizer and agricultural tools while teaching his son to do math assignments. Meanwhile for mothers, there is also no difference in this multitasking behavior. Usually, however, mothers have a stronger managerial role, while fathers have stronger supervisory abilities.

So, from this it can be concluded that multitasking behavior is not fully carried out in carrying out office tasks, but also in matters of taking care of children. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic as it is today where work and school patterns are carried out with the Work From Home system . So that it will make parents have a bigger role in terms of multitasking, namely in carrying out their daily tasks while educating children.

So, that’s a review of what multitasking is and its impact on the results of the work being done. Does Sinaumed’s often do this multitasking? If so, it’s better to reduce it because it turns out to have a negative impact on the ability of the brain.


Wulanyani, NMS (2015). Memory in Multitasking. Psychology Bulletin , 23 (2), 112-116.

Concerned, M. (2022). The Multitasking Role of Parents in Guiding Children’s Learning. Mandala Education Scientific Journal , 8 (2).

Arini, DP (2020). Multitasking As A Lifestyle, Can It Improve Performance: A Literature Review. Journal of Psychology MANDALA , 4 (1).

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