More Fun with Multitasking


<em>Illustration by Emily Gage

It’s been a long day and you need to unwind. But there are still homework assignments that need to be completed, papers that need to be written and you are going out with your friends later. So what do you do? You try to conserve time by multitasking: turning on the television or pulling up Netflix to watch your favorite show and monitoring social networks on your phone while doing your reading or exercise for class. Multitasking makes even the most mundane of assignments seem much more enjoyable, even if it ends up prolonging the homework. This is not a negative action, as many would claim.

Research conducted by The Ohio State University states that multitasking may hurt your performance, but it makes you feel better. Zheng Wang, an assistant professor in the department of communication at The Ohio State University, was quoted in the same study as saying, “They are not being more productive. They just feel more emotionally satisfied from their work.”

Emotional satisfaction is a huge part of being a productive college student and could lead to more participation in the class and a willingness to meet with and work with the professor. These two factors are arguably more important in the grading process than  mediocre homework. Generally, students agree that multitasking does not harm their grades and is just a natural side-effect of their lifestyle.

Conversely, according to Bangor Daily News, analysis of research done on the topic of multitasking concludes that “researchers are beginning to demonstrate that media multitasking while learning is negatively associated with students’ grades.” Other research has similar results, suggesting that times spent on homework are extended due to multitasking and that students attain less of an understanding of the topic.

Personally, I disagree with that stance. After a day full of classes, extracurricular activities and work, there is a need to relax and be entertained. Without this time of the day, I find myself feeling vexed and this affects the work that is completed. In addition, even though the homework tends to take longer, if I am concentrating on both my discussion post and what Walter White is doing on screen, it does not alter the quality of my work.

An article on About.com titled How to Reduce Stress While in College states that, “Your brain is like a muscle and even it needs a break every once in a while.”

This is true in every sense of the word and  taking it easy leaves students feeling refreshed and ready to look at their project with new eyes. Making homework more enjoyable throughout your college career could train you to have a positive view of new assignments that are dictated in class and to even look forward to the time set aside for these activities.

This is not a sentiment that is shared by a small group of individuals. According to the Ohio State University study, media multitasking is becoming increasingly more prevalent among students. So even though there is a multitude of experiments that conclude student’s grades suffer due to multitasking, the majority of society chooses to ignore that fact for the simple reason that enjoyment derived from work is more conducive to an individual’s feeling of success.

Disagree? Click here to read an opposing viewpoint: "Multiple Problems with Multitasking"