Here’s How Our Multitasking is Affecting Our Media Use

As devices have changed our lives, our habits have changed with them.

Image courtesy of Unsplash. 

It’s no surprise that Americans are consuming more media now than 10 years ago. But the reasons for this increase aren’t as simple as you might think. According to recent data collected by eMarketer, this increase in media use is, in part, a result of multitasking.

As Recode reports, activities which Americans used to reserve for single tasking, like listening to the radio or watching TV, have been infiltrated by our devices. Now that we’re able to be connected anywhere, anytime, our time spent consuming various forms of media is on the rise, whether we’re scrolling through social media or checking the news on our phones. While television still takes up most of our time, media-wise — 33 percent — mobile is close behind at 27 percent. And unfortunately, our multitasking habits have consequences for our face-to-face interactions, with an increasing number of Americans reporting that they’re checking various media platforms and outlets while hanging out with friends.

In a hyperconnected world, occasional multitasking is unavoidable. But as more and more devices and apps compete for our attention, it’s more important than ever to examine our habits and set aside time to disconnect from our devices. Research shows multitasking can decrease your ability to recall important details. And focusing on more than one task at once can reduce your productivity by 40 percent, according to the Harvard Business Review. The takeaway here? In many ways we’re living in a golden age of media, with a wealth of apps that can connect, inform, and entertain us as never before. But to get the best out of them, we need to rid ourselves of the delusion that we can do everything at once.

Read more about the data in Recode

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