How excess information dulls and multitasking leads to chronic fatigue

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Many of us are gradually overcome by the “bugs of the brain” of modern information oversaturation: distraction, mental fatigue, memory impairment, and the extinction of creativity. Here we will not talk about sleep, sports, and nutrition. It is better to clarify the mental causes of this vast problem from a scientific point of view and develop a detailed plan of action.

Our brain is not imprisoned for multitasking!

He can either absorb information, or think it over, or solve a specific problem. This does not mean that he is not able to switch – even as capable. But this switch (especially in those cases in which the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for cognitive efforts) is actively involved, spends a lot of valuable energy.

To bombard him at the same time with information and deeds is in principle harmful. Firstly, because it creates the illusion of productivity through small dopamine emissions.

  • Answered the letter – emission;
  • posted a photo on Instagram – release;
  • checked notifications – outlier;
  • made a small part of the work – the release.

At the same time, thoughts rush around without focusing, not a single task is 100% considered, and we lose productivity and energy. In the end, there is a sticky feeling that you seemed to be fine in the little things but flew by large.

But low productivity is not the highest price. We also pay the price for multitasking with our cognitive abilities – this is what the study published in 2015 on the NCBI website said.

The fact is that during a constant switch between several tasks:

1. The IQ level is reduced in the same way as if you miss a whole night of sleep;

2. Increases the overall level of cortisol, and this leads to chronic fatigue.

Moreover, some scientists claim that the IQ level is reduced by 10 points, even with the likelihood of multitasking. For example, you have an unanswered letter or an unreviewed notification, and you know about it. This knowledge itself will distract you and reduce the ability to think effectively and solve issues.

Well, again, considerable mental effort is required in order to be distracted by one lesson, return and immerse yourself in the previous one. Each subsequent time, immersing yourself in a task becomes more and more difficult, it is increasingly difficult to maintain concentration.

This exhausts and reduces the ability to resist temptations. Our willpower is limited by the amount of available energy, and it has already been squandered by jumping between classes.

Other studies (University of Sussex) even claim that during constant distractions and multitasking, brain density in the anterior cingulate gyrus decreases (this zone is responsible for empathy and emotional control). Although, this information is not 100% accurate, and they are going to double-check it in the near future.

The brain is oversaturated with information, it is overloaded and in a state of anxiety, which leads to the inability to adequately perceive and process the necessary amount of incoming information. Often too much information leads to “analytical paralysis”.

But no matter how you do it, multitasking reduces our ability to think qualitatively.

How not to:

  • start at the same time several things (even small ones) that require concentration and switching;
  • scroll the tape or answer letters while working, turn on the series while learning, etc.

How to:

  • during the execution of the task, avoid and provoke distractions as much as possible;
  • start a new business only after the end of the previous one;
  • in work on a major task, you can set yourself the planned breaks and consciously switch to something else. Lack of proper mental reboot

The brain needs to switch between the work of its various systems. They are needed first of all in order to give each of the main neural networks respites and to allocate the time they need to fulfill their functions. If this does not happen, the brain begins to hang hard: it is distracted, the previously received information reproduces “with bugs”, it does not create.

What will provide a respite for the brain? Definitely not watching TV shows, scrolling Facebook, reading books, or computer games. For you, this is entertainment, for him, it is the next load on the executive network and the lack of practice for a network of a passive mode of operation, which will process and receive all the information received on the shelves.

Modern life has an important feature: a lot of information falls upon a person. Excess information is extremely harmful to your intellect. If the information is not related to your desires, do not look, do not listen, turn off, delete. Many people ask how to improve memory, read and perceive more information faster. But in fact, the excess of information for your intellect is extremely harmful and makes you dumber.

What then will provide?

Contemplation. You can contemplate anything: a table, a receding hairline of a colleague, a park, a lake. Thoughts at this moment need to be released into free-swimming – let them dangle in the head to nothing attached and not aimed at anything.

Monotonous physical action: a walk (either without music at all, or turn on something without words and sudden transitions), some types of cleaning, sorting out something in hand.

Meditation. She also unloads the brain, but on the other hand. During meditation, the default system and the “wandering state of mind” characteristic of its work are switched off with alternating success. In parallel with this, other systems (networks) are included that are responsible for concentration and willpower, which train them perfectly.

How not to:

  • during obvious mental fatigue, including a series, read a book, open a social network.

How to:

  • to devote time to simply “do nothing” and “fly in the clouds”, realizing that this is a valuable time to restore brain resources.

On the dangers of excess information in the modern world. Do you understand the absurdity of spending time on the Web and feel guilty for wasting time in vain, but you can’t stop consuming information you don’t need? TV, computer, telephone, even street advertising – all this clog our minds with endless streams of data. Every day, the human brain has to “digest” huge amounts of information – visual, sound, text, and so on. The requested and not so much data is streaming down on us from all sides.

Targeted Content Consumption

Consuming anything, in principle, is easy and pleasant, including content. But if in one case it can be consumed purposefully and with benefit — to study, learn new things in one’s work or about the world, to enjoy oneself, then in another case it can happen aimlessly and, as a result, is very destructive.

Here is the destructiveness. We use the extraordinary resources of the brain to receive and process information that, most often, is of no use (let’s honestly admit it). As a result, the information that is really useful and necessary, resources in the form of attention and concentration simply do not remain.

It turns out that we just put something into the head with a spoon, if only it would not be empty. And although the main goal of such consumption is initially good (to take your thoughts, distract from work, entertain yourself), the result is sometimes disappointing.

In what cases does this happen?

When you don’t know the answers to the following content questions:

Does it improve my real life?

Is this relevant for me?

Does that make me smarter?

Does this solve any of my problems?

Does this increase my mood, does it give a surge of motivation?

If not, urgently cut off. Free the brain from this ballast. After all, you may no longer be interested in what a social media feed loads into your brain, but you are still passively accepting all this unnecessary garbage. Instead, let your goals determine the consumption of content.

Reflections on the overabundance of information. The modern pace of life involves a large flow of information from the outside world. Newsfeed, television programs, the Internet, regular professional development. A person is in a constant stream of various information. He needs to constantly process incoming information, solve problems, analyze, and, as a result, information stress!

Think about what you want to know? What are you interested in, what is useful for work or study, what pleases you, what do you really need? Clean and configure the new information arriving to you (in the form of a tape of social networks including) and start accepting and processing only what is already agreed with your internal censor.

How not to:

  • passively consume content that does not meet (possibly unconscious) interests and goals and spend limited brain resources on it.

How to:

  • consciously control what comes into your head and in what quantities; define content strictly according to your goals and for your own good, allocating some time for this.

Little quality cognitive effort.

“Intelligence is measured by the ability to change.”

– Albert Einstein

After all, do you know the theory of 10,000 hours of practice, after which a person becomes a professional? So, with her, there is one (and big) catch, which few people talk about. This theory tells us “how much”, but misses the “how” equation – how exactly you study, work or train. Many people noticed for themselves: someone has been doing one thing for many years but has not “grown” into an expert or pro, and someone has already become a leader in the industry for a couple of years.

And it’s simple: if you twist the same disc, do the same thing day after day, you simply will not come to other conclusions, knowledge, and results. You will just be busy.


3 thoughts on “How excess information dulls and multitasking leads to chronic fatigue”

  1. Pingback: 6 types of fatigue and ways to defeat them - For Health

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