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The Two Biggest Myths People Always Get Wrong

The truth about Multitasking and MSG

Hello again, Idle Impact is all about giving you short and actionable insights each day to help improve your life!

Today, I’m going to share two myths that I hear people get wrong ALL THE TIME.

Coincidentally, they both start with ‘M’ and end with ‘G.’ Yep, you guessed it - we’re talking about Multitasking and MSG! Let’s get started 👇️ 

Multitasking is trying to do many things at once, only slower and with more errors…


Myth #1: ‘Multitasking is GOOD!’

I hear this all the time when I ask interview candidates, “What’s one of your strengths?”

“I’m a great multitasker.”

First off, no you’re not - no one is.1 Second, multitasking is bad for you. 

Let’s back up what I just said with some science: Studies have shown that your brain can’t actually do multiple things at the same time.

Instead, it switches between tasks, AND the bad part is it takes time to refocus whenever you switch tasks.

This ‘switch-cost’ needed to refocus whenever you switch tasks or are interrupted can take anywhere from 60 seconds up to 23 minutes.

That means it can take up to a whopping 23 minutes to get back into a productive state each time you switch tasks!2 

And all that switching adds up - can you imagine how much time you spend in one day just trying to refocus?

Not only that, but multitasking also increases cognitive decline which may lead to more errors and it also takes up more energy!

Therefore, multitasking, or task-switching, is not possible to do efficiently and is actually straight-up BAD FOR YOU.

Again here are some reasons:

  • We can only focus on one task at a time, and we need time to refocus each time we switch tasks.

  • It’s easier to get distracted and make more mistakes while multitasking

  • Multitasking also drains your energy

Therefore, try not to multitask. Instead, just stick to one task at a time whenever possible.

We’ll talk about some helpful strategies - such as ‘batching’ - to counter multitasking and be more efficient in a later edition.

For now, let’s move on to the 2nd myth…

What Chinese food might look like if MSG could get you high…


Myth #1: ‘MSG is BAD!’

This is another misconception that has been disproven for quite some time now. MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate, is the kitchen ingredient that everyone (still) loves to hate.

Mostly known for its use in Chinese (restaurant) food, MSG is a flavor enhancer invented in 1907 by a Japanese chemist. It activates the “umami” taste which is described as “meaty” or savory.”

So, where does MSG get its bad rap from?

It’s actually a long story, but it traces back to the 1960’s when a scientist claimed to have fallen ill after eating at a Chinese restaurant!3 

Unfortunately in the years after, xenophobia - hence, the term ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’ - and a few questionable studies perpetuated MSG’s harmful effects.

Ok, so now here we settle this myth with a few undisputed facts:

  1. Numerous studies have found no compelling evidence that MSG is harmful

  2. MSG has been classified as safe by multiple health authorities including WHO, FDA, and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).

  3. MSG is naturally present in many foods, including meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

Furthermore, MSG can also be useful as a substitute for salt, especially if you need to reduce your intake since it only contains 1/3 the sodium of table salt.

Although the misconceptions about MSG are deeply ingrained in society and will probably live on, I implore you to give MSG a chance.

You can learn to love and use MSG in your own cooking. There are no proven negative side effects AND your food will taste better 😃.

Well, that was a lot to….digest! (lame pun, I know 🤣).

I understand if the information presented above may be quite shocking for some and if you want further proof, please check out additional resources below, do your own research, or…. just don’t believe it - it’s totally up to you!

Thanks for reading! Any tips or insights you’d like to share? Let us know at [email protected].

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See you tomorrow and take care!

- Kevin and the Idle Impact Team

Dive Deeper with recommended reads:

  • Multitasking

    • Here’s a great article from Psychology Today that also includes a test you can try that will show you how inefficient multitasking is!

    • More details about multitasking from the American Psychological Association with a large list of additional sources

  • MSG

    • The history of MSG’s bad rap

    • Some more facts about MSG

    • A great article from CNN about changing the misconceptions about MSG

Footnote References:

  1. Actually, maybe just 2.5% of the population according to here, but your chances are still slim…

  2. https://www.ics.uci.edu/~gmark/chi08-mark.pdf

  3. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-msg-got-a-bad-rap-flawed-science-and-xenophobia/

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