How to start monotasking

  • Commit to the Pomodoro Technique: this method breaks down tasks into short chunks of time, with a brief break in between each.
  • Save things for later: when you come across articles and videos throughout your day that force you to make a decision, don't break your momentum and start saving these items for later.
  • Make a to-do list and break down tasks.
  • Reduce digital clutter in your work life (notifications, for example).
  • Listen to classical music, electronic music, and even white noise (productivity music).
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Multitasking vs monotasking

Multitasking fractures your attention between multiple tasks at the same time; monotasking fully focuses on one task.

  • Multitasking is less about being able to work on more tasks at the same time, and more about hoe we switch between different tasks while not giving our full attention to any of them.
  • Monotasking (single-tasking) means working on one task at a time and it helps to increase our creativity, energy, and focus.

When we multitask, we’re putting tremendous stress on our brains as we flit backward and forwards between different tasks.

Multitasking is a brain drain that exhausts the mind, zaps cognitive resources and, if left unchecked, condemns us to early mental decline and decreased sharpness.

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 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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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 minutes will help.

This is also known as the Pomodoro Technique.

1. Exercise

Get your day started right by getting the blood flowing. In Japan, companies used to have their employees start their mornings with some light exercise.

According to the Harvard Medical School, exercise “reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.”

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