Digital Stress and Your Job Search

It seems that stress of one kind or another is part of our everyday lives now. It certainly plays a role–good or bad–in job searching, as well as on-the-job activities. But are you familiar with current views about the role of stress in conjunction with multitasking? I recently received an email link from regarding “Digital Stress and Your Brain” that gave me a lot to think about. I highly recommend that you check it out. It’s in the form of an infographic, with relatively little text to read and graphic images to make the text clear.

Multitasking Job Seekers: Are You Kidding Yourself?

If you think you can effectively manage multiple overlapping or basically concurrent tasks during a job search, you might well be kidding yourself. According to the infographic, even Superman and Wonder Woman might not do as well at multitasking as they think! For starters, here are a few excerpts of information from the infographic:

  • The average amount of time we spend daily on media consumption rose from 5 hours in 1960 to 12 hours in 2010.
  • Only 10% of adults spent measurable time online in 1995; by 2011 that had skyrocketed to 75%. even worse, for teens it was 95%.
  • When your brain faces two tasks, part of it divides in half so each half can focus on one task. Another part enables you to switch between the two. Once you add a third task, the brain can’t divide any further, so accuracy drops considerably.

What if You Feel Compelled to Multitask in Your Job Search?

If you’re loaded with responsibilities when you’re trying to conduct a job search, you might feel as if you have no choice but to multitask to get all the essential tasks done. However, I encourage you to think beyond this snap-judgment view of the situation. You could find better, more effective and less harmful ways of dealing with it. Sometimes, for instance, you can stagger the tasks somewhat, so you’re not trying to meet same-time deadlines on all of them. Along the same lines, you might find–if you think carefully about it–that you can divide the tasks into chunks and focus on one at a time at least for short periods. That could help your brain transition from one to the other more smoothly and productively.

I’m a fan of making lists or timelines for the tasks I need to accomplish, to help me stay on track and not get overloaded (stressed). When I make a good effort to do that, it invariably helps. The problems arise when I don’t stick to that approach and “overwhelm” attacks me! Sometimes it comes from external factors outside my control, and I just need to regroup as quickly as possible and get back on track. However, at other times it happens because I didn’t stay focused and let my functioning become scattered. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather keep that from happening! I work more effectively and feel better at the same time. I suspect you would, too.

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