The dangers of context switching - Deepstash

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The Life-Changing Magic of Monotasking

The dangers of context switching

Context switching is essentially bad for us: every time we switch between doing our work and checking our phones for example, we experience a “transaction cost” that drains our energy and slows us down.

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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...

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.

Work in chunks

Our brain focuses best in short spurts, so dedicating 25 minutes to one activity, taking a five-minute break, and then resuming that activity or switching to another activity for another 25 minu...

The Personal Kanban

It's a system to save us from our endless to-do lists, which can turn any job into a lifeless chore. It works on two principles: 

Visualize your work and limit yo...

Setting up
  • Create three columns on a board where you can use magnets or post-it notes. Label the columns: Options, Doing, and Done.
  • Write your individual tasks down on separate cards. Post all of these cards in the "Options" column.
  • From that column, choose no more than three to move into the middle "Doing" column. This is your work in progress.
  • When a task is complete, move it into the "Done" column, and choose a new option to pull into "Doing."
The Zeigarnik effect

Starting but not completing too many projects puts people at risk of the Zeigarnik effect, which states that people are better at remembering unfinished tasks than completed ones.