The madness of multitasking
March Madness is nearly upon us, and for many that means the chance to watch a lot of college basketball. Will you be trying to work while you’re tuned into the game? Maybe checking your Email, responding to texts, preparing dinner, helping with homework… all while cheering on your favorite team? If so, you are a victim of multitasking madness!
We are all guilty of trying to fit as much as we can into as little time as possible. Most people think that they can save time by trying to do 2 or 3 things at once. But in truth, trying to do too much at one time actually makes you LESS productive. When you multitask, you aren’t doing either task well and you increase your risk of making mistakes.
The myth of multitasking
Multitasking is often portrayed as a desirable characteristic, and a skill that only some people possess. However, it has been well documented in many studies that no one has the ability to effectively multitask, and it actually decreases productivity and increases stress. We may think that we are doing several things at once, but every time we switch tasks, it takes can take up to 15 minutes for our brain to re-engage. Although you feel busy, you’re actually being less productive and creating more stress and anxiety.
How to tame multitasking madness
It’s easy to get caught in the mindset that doing more than one thing at a time makes us more productive. In fact, just the opposite is true. When you focus on just one task all the way through to completion, you actually will accomplish more work in less time.
By focusing on one task at a time, you are doing the task and thinking about what you’re doing at the same time. That task that you are working on “right now” should be the only thing that you are focused on. Shut off distractions that take your attention away from the “right now” task. Silence your phone, turn off Email notifications – whatever it takes to keep your focus. Just this one productive habit will have you working smarter, not harder, and getting the results you need.
People who are most productive and successful utilize their talents and energy to fully focus on one specific task at a time. They complete that task to the best of their ability, without interruption and for short focused periods. So maybe while you’re watching the game, focus on the game; then at halftime, take 15 minutes to check and respond to Email, texts and help with homework.
Could you or your employees use help replacing multitasking with more productive work habits?
One of the many popular consulting topics and workshops we provide is “Multitasking Makes You Stupid”, which helps people learn strategies to prevent multitasking and increase their focus and productivity. Contact us to learn more.
Additionally, in March, the theme of our “It’s About Time” virtual productivity group will be multitasking and how to apply focus. If you could use more time in your life for what’s most important, register to join us in time for our March 5th webinar. Let us help you achieve long-term, sustainable, and life-changing productivity… one task at a time.