Can you talk on the phone, eat a PowerBar and drive at the same time? Although frequent multitaskers may seem efficient, a recent study at the University of Utah reveals that just because you multitask, it doesn't necessarily mean you're good at it.
In fact, researchers say frequent multitaskers are worse at effectively juggling tasks than those who are less likely to multitask.
The study also found that most multitaskers are overconfident in their multitasking abilities. Seventy percent of people perceive themselves to be above-average multitaskers, which is a statistical impossibility.
So why are people multitasking at all?
The report, based on self-evaluations and performance tests by approximately 275 University of Utah undergrads, suggests that those who multitask don't engage in several activities to boost productivity. Instead, multitasking is linked to personality traits of high impulsivity and sensation seeking, which reflects how easily a person is bored or distracted.
Multitasking, which can be both "physically and cognitively taxing," demands a "high level of executive control" to maintain goals and focus, especially during task switching, according to the study.
The disparity between overconfidence in performance and actual performance for serial multitaskers is troubling. According to researchers, these same people are more likely to engage in risky situations-- like driving while using their cell phones.
With approximately 24 percent of all accidents and fatalities on U.S. highways linked to distracted driving, according to the National Safety Council, you might want to think twice the next time you try to do it all.