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“Multitasking is the ability to screw everything up simultaneously.” — Jeremy Clarkson
You may think you can do everything right now, but you can’t — and you shouldn’t. This goes against what so many of us have learned and, in many cases, fine-tuned over decades. We’re used to juggling five balls at once and repeatedly switching between tasks.
We’re lying to ourselves if we think we’re effective.
Many studies have shed light on the downside of multitasking — trying to juggle multiple tasks at one time. One often cited study from Stanford University found that people who multitask are more easily distracted, less productive, score lower on tests for recalling information, and make more errors.
Our brains are not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”
A better alternative is monotasking. Monotasking, also known as single-tasking, is the practice of dedicating yourself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the job is completed or a significant period has elapsed. So how do you monotask? Try the nine tips below.
Time spent being physically active away from your screen improves your performance when you return. It can boost energy levels, reduce stress and give your mind the perspective it needs to problem solve and join the dots in your thinking.
While you may think a quick glance at your phone in the morning won’t cause any harm, it can be a major drain on your productivity. Checking your phone as soon as you wake up will put you into a reactive state of mind. Give yourself time to properly wake up. Wait at least an hour before checking your phone.
Make a list of tasks that you need to complete and list them in the priority that they need to be done. This way, each of your tasks will get your full focus, and you’ll make sure that the most crucial ones are completed. If you don’t get through everything on your list, move those items to the next day.
Do your best to eliminate distractions throughout the day. Turn off your email, text messages, and social media notifications while you are completing tasks. If your problem is at work, consider booking time on your calendar for focused work so that coworkers won’t interrupt
Set a specific time each day to check email, social media, and text messages. This can be your lunch break or a set period of time before you leave the office.
Sometimes you may find yourself multitasking because you took on a task you don’t really have time for. Don’t be afraid to say no when asked to complete additional tasks. Be aware of how much is on your plate and how long it will take to complete. If you can’t fit any more in your day, simply decline. There’s no need to provide a long explanation; keep it short and simple.
Messes can be distracting. Organize your desk so that you can tackle one thing at a time. You also might want to consider removing distracting knickknacks that can pull your attention away from the task at hand.
You should schedule work that is challenging and requires a lot of focus for the time of day when your attention and drive are at their peak. For example, if you are a morning person, tackle these projects first thing after you get to work. If you attempt to complete these tasks when you are physically or mentally fatigued, your mind will be more likely to wander.
The first step in breaking a habit is being aware of it. If you find yourself constantly multitasking, choose a day to log everything you do so that you can identify patterns that lead to your distractions and be mindful of them in the future.
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A Geek | SM enthusiast | Entrepreneur | Writer/Curator | Visionary | Product designer (UX/UI)
Not only are we bad at doing many things at once, but it can actually be harmful to try.
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