Unexpected tasks throw us way off track – even when we’ve done them before

Once we’ve decided to do something we mentally prepare for it. This means being derailed seriously impairs how well we can do even routine tasks, according to new research.

Participants in a study by the Kessler Foundation were asked to choose from a list of tasks. Some were then prompted to do it, while others were prompted to perform another from the list. Performance was most strikingly impaired when asked to repeat something they had just done.

Researchers say this will help rehabilitation for patients with traumatic brain injuries, who often lose the abiltiy to multi-task.

Read more at Kessler Foundation