Imagine socializing with people but you struggle doing it because you can only focus on using good eye contact for a few minutes; then for the next few minutes having to focus on what they say; but unable to do both the same time. Imagine taking a phone call at work where you can only focus on the computer or what the person is saying but not both. You start to panic as a result. Individuals on the Autism spectrum often struggle with this on a daily basis. In other words, these individuals struggle with multitasking. Individuals who struggle with multitasking can only focus on one thing at a time. Individuals on the spectrum often have brains that are wired to focus only on one thing at a time. Such a mind can be a benefit in that the individuals because have the ability to focus intensely on something and become very skilled at it. However, these individuals also struggle with doing things that require focusing on multiple things. Unfortunately many jobs these days, require an individual to multitask and more jobs today are even demanding it more. This makes it hard for individuals, such as those on the spectrum, to make a decent living. Furthermore, this struggle makes it hard for them to socialize, make friends, and find romantic relationships because socialization often involves multitasking. A person, who socializes, has to use eye contact, read body language, listen to what they are saying, while also thinking of what to say to them. Struggling to multitask can also be overwhelming and this can contribute to many people on the spectrum having frequent anxiety. Fortunately, for people who struggle with multitasking, there are ten different ways in which they can learn to cope and deal with it to make it less of a struggle.
The first way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking struggles is to separate the different components in a multi-tasking task and practice them individually. When a person is good at something to the point they barely have to think about it, it is easier for them to be able to do it while doing something else. If the person can learn how to master the subcomponents of the task first, then when they’re combined, the person can then be able to do both the same time without as much problem because each individual component is mastered.
The second way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking is to learn how to time share. This means separating the different components of the task again but this time learning how to do one task for a certain period of time, and then doing the other component(s) for a certain period of time. In other words, the components could be executed in a back and forth pattern like format that eventually will accomplish the task as a whole. For example, if a person has to make a phone call at work that requires using a computer to assist a customer, the individual could listen to the customer for the first step, stop, and then use the computer to execute that step, stop, and then listen to the customer for the next step. In order to do this, it is important to be able to time each sub-task so you’ll know best how to switch back in forth to get the task done in the most efficient way.
The third way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking struggles is to use visual aids to help a person see crucial things instead of rely on their own memory for it. This means using a piece of paper or other kinds of visuals as a reminder so that the individual doesn’t have to rely on his/her own memory. When an individual has to rely on their memory to get a task done, it can be more difficult because it takes more energy to recall a thought, and switch brain centers. This may take time. A visual on the other hand can help speed up this process and make it less taxing to the individual. Such examples can include: “Too Do Lists”, a list of steps, or a visual diagram.
The forth way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking is to get in the habit of doing similar tasks together. When an individual does similar tasks together, similar brain centers get fired and used which makes the individual struggle less to get the tasks done. Different tasks, on the other hand, require an individual to use different brain centers, which means the brain has to switch brain centers more. This causes the individual to have to use more effort to get a task done and this will take more time.
The fifth way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking struggles is to get good rest. Adequate rest helps an individual become more mentally alert. If an individual has less sleep, more effort is required to recall memories, shift thoughts and ideas, see the bigger picture, pay attention, and to focus on multiple things. If a person hasn’t had sleep and is required to multitask, caffeine or immediate exercise can make the heart pump more blood and oxygen through the body can help make a mind more alert for a temporary period of time.
The sixth way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking struggles is to eat healthy. This may sound like a somewhat unnecessary suggestion, however, good eating habits can help make a mind more alert in the long run.
The seventh way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking struggles is to take natural vitamins and pills that help a person with focus, memory, and concentration. Studies have shown that Ginko Biloba, Fish Oil pills, and Vitamin B supplements on a daily basis help with focus, memory, and concentration. An increased ability to focus, concentrate, and have a better memory will, without a doubt, help with multitasking. These vitamins are not expensive and can be purchased over-the-counter.
The eighth way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking struggles is to do brain exercises that help a person focus on several things the same time. Even though some individuals will always struggle with multitasking, their struggles can however be improved somewhat if they practice multi-tasking more often. The more an individual exposes themselves to multi-tasking, the better that individual will get. There are many multitasking exercises available online where an individual wants to practice.
The ninth way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking struggles is to strengthen their short term memory. Short term memory deficiency is a major factor to those who struggle with short term memory. In order for individuals to consciously process things, short term memory is needed. Many individuals on the Autism Spectrum struggle with short memory. If an individual struggles with short term memory, they will process less information. The less information that can be processed at one time, the less information can be used to multi-task on. If an individual improves their short term memory, the more an individual can multitask. An individual can learn to exercise their short term memory by trying to remember and recall lists with multiple items such as phone numbers or instructions with multiple steps. The more items an individual can recall the more powerful their short term memory has become.
The tenth way an individual can learn to cope and deal with multitasking is to learn not to doubt themselves. A huge factor that causes an individual to not multi-task is one who simply believes they can’t. A sudden doubt can stop a person’s train of thought and halt their current thought process. When it comes to believing things, a mind can become a very powerful tool. However, this tool can be used in a way that isn’t helpful if you learn to use it that way. In truth, an individual can achieve a lot if they put their mind to it. Believing they can’t can cause a habitual process that can stop them in the tracks when multitasking. In order to fix this, the individual must learn to change the habit. This habit can be changed by the individual believing that their struggle may not be as bad as they might think. In truth, we all have a lot of amazing un-met potential- even in areas we struggle in. A lot of potential is often stopped when you believe you can’t do something. Thoughts are very powerful. Use them wisely. Use them to help you learn to multitask better instead of making it harder.
Many individual, especially those on the Autism Spectrum, struggle to do many things essential to their success. This often involves struggling to do things that require doing more than one thing at once. This is caused by how their brains are hardwired. I have mentioned ten ways in how an individual can learn to cope with these struggles. Some of these techniques involve using tools and visuals; some involve exercises, good health habits, and while other involve exercises that involve strengthening your mind and what you believe. If you have any other suggestions that you feel can help an individual multitask better that you would like to mention, please share your incite. I hope you found this blog helpful. Thanks for reading!
James Edwin Hackett IV