Day 4. Do one thing at a time

Multitasking is a myth.
Slow Your Scroll Challenge

DAY 4 OF 10

Do one thing at a time

We all do it: You're hanging out with a friend with one eye on Instagram. You're talking on the phone with your mom while absorbed in TikTok.

Make no mistake: Social media-ing while doing something else is a trap. The pleasure-seeking part of your brain convinces you that you can get away with doing both. And as a result, you end up doing multiple things poorly — or less pleasurably.

Our brains aren't wired for multitasking

Research has found that when the brain takes in multiple streams of information, we have difficulty retaining information and remembering things. Not only are we biologically terrible at multitasking, but habitual multitasking may even make it harder for us to switch tasks.

One study found that "heavy media multitaskers" performed worse on a test of their task-switching ability than the "light media multitaskers." The authors hypothesized that people who like to do a lot of things at once aren't better at multitasking, they're just worse at filtering out distractions.

Plus, taking in too many stimuli too fast can fray your nerves and make you feel mentally exhausted. Fully engaging in a conversation with your friend is plenty of work for your brain without the added task of processing a never-ending stream of content.

Today's challenge: Block out time for social media

Instead of scrolling whenever you feel like it today, schedule specific times during the day when you'll use your social apps.

Here's an example of how your schedule might look:

  • 10 minutes at 8:30 a.m.
  • 5 minutes at noon
  • 10 minutes at 6:30 p.m.

The key to this exercise is only using social media during these time slots.

Instead of thinking of these sessions as a downgrade, see them as the start of a ritual that supports you in giving your full attention to one thing. That way, you can enjoy what you're doing, instead of feeling rushed, distracted, and overwhelmed.

Tomorrow, we'll cover creating social feeds that actually feed you, versus leading you to feel bad about yourself.

Until tomorrow,
The Healthline Team

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