Mindful multitasking: with less stress, more concentration

Need to do some serious multitasking? Meditation training can help, new research shows.

Meditation training can help you stay on tasks longer, with fewer distractions, and also improves memory and reduces stress, according to research recently published by University of Washington Information School professors David Levy and Jacob Wobbrock.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore how meditation might affect multitasking in a realistic work setting,” Levy said in a press release.

Researchers recruited three groups of 12-15 human resource managers for the study. One group received eight weeks of mindfulness-based meditation training; another received eight weeks of body relaxation training. Members of the control group received no training at first, then after eight weeks were given the same training as the first group.

Before and after each eight-week period, the participants were given a stress test of their multitasking abilities. Researchers measured the participants’ speed, accuracy and the extent to which they switched tasks. The participants self-reported levels of stress and memory while performing the tasks.

The results were significant, with the meditation group reporting lower levels of stress during the multitasking test than the people in the other two groups.

Results were published in the May edition of Proceedings of Graphics InterfaceClick here for more information.