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In Defense Of Multitasking: How To Do It The Right Way

Multitasking can have some merit

While you’ve likely heard that it’s physically impossible to do two things at once, that rule really only applies to tasks that require the same cognitive resources. If you can find ways to combine two tasks that are different enough - like listening to an educational podcast while making your commute, practicing for a presentation while getting your miles in on the treadmill, or brainstorming article ideas while doing the dishes - multitasking can actually serve to your benefit.

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In Defense Of Multitasking: How To Do It The Right Way

In Defense Of Multitasking: How To Do It The Right Way

https://blog.trello.com/why-multitasking-is-good-for-you

blog.trello.com

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Key Ideas

Task switching

Many of the multitasking warnings actually refer to the concept of “task switching.” It refers to switching your attention from one thing to another. 

Frequently flipping back and forth between different to-dos, is bad. It depletes your mental resources, wastes time, and will leave you feeling spread too thin.

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Switching between tasks

Most of us spend our days jumping between tasks and tools.

In fact, most people average only 3 minutes on any given task before switching to something else (and only 2 minutes on a di...

Task switching and focus

Taking on additional tasks simultaneously can destroy up to 80% of your productive time:

  • Focusing on one task at a time = 100% of your productive time available.
  • Juggling two tasks at a time = 40% of your productive time for each and 20% lost to context switching.
  • Juggling three tasks at a time = 20% of your productive time for each and 40% lost to context switching.
A schedule for sustained attention
It includes:
  • Large chunks of focused “flow” time for more demanding projects.
  • “Themed” days to reduce the need to recalibrate between different tasks.
  • Advanced planning so you can prioritize meaningful work.
  • Realistic time set aside for admin, communication, and meetings.
  • Clear expectations for your teammates so they know when not to interrupt you.

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How to burn yourself out
How to burn yourself out

It is easy to constantly be burnt out while also accomplishing very little.

It takes years of practice. You have to build up habits where the line between work and time-wasting is practical...

Constant multitasking

Multitasking is a proven method for getting little done. It wastes time by slowing your progress down on every individual task.

  • On your computer, fill every pixel of space with as many windows and tabs, all related to different tasks. Then switch between those tabs and tasks as often as possible.
  • Use notifications to pull you away from your focus. Use it on as many applications and services as possible.

Focusing on one task may make you actually complete it. It might give you the momentum to accomplishing another task. This can be avoided by multitasking.

Never making a plan

A direct way to exhaust yourself:

  • You start your day with a general, vague sense of your priorities.
  • To prevent yourself from making progress, you don't write your tasks down anywhere. Then you can remember a particular task while busy with another, briefly panic, and doing it all over a few minutes later.
  • You don't make a list or schedule a time for any task. This could make the list of tasks feel manageable, and might also lead you to start one task at a time. You want to feel vaguely overwhelmed at all times.

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