“Multitasking takes a serious toll on productivity… Focusing on a single task is a much more effective approach for several reasons.”
Kendra Cherry, MS, Verywell Mind
Many of us have been bought up with the idea that to be a successful business owner or entrepreneur, not only do you have to work all the hours, but you can only really be effective with your time by doing several things at once, i.e. multitasking! How many times have you heard people say “I’m a great multitasker” or words similar to that?
The fact is though that research tells us something different.
This article by Kendra Cherry, a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist and author of “The Everything Psychology Book,” explains why this is.
It seems that when multitasking, the mind has to switch from one thing to another, it’s not wired to do several things at once. And every time you switch between tasks, you’re distracting yourself from what you were doing. Think of it this way:
You’re writing an email and a colleague starts talking to you about something else. Your mind has to switch subjects and get up to speed with what your colleague is talking about. When that conversation is finished and you turn back to your computer to continue with your email, you have to pause and remind yourself what you’ve already written and what else we want to say.
Now imagine your mind having to do that constantly while you’re multitasking!
There are several things we can all do to break the multitasking habit:
- Decide which task to focus on at any given time. If you really do need to work on more than one thing at once, combine a simple, automatic task with one that needs more thought.
- Follow the ‘20-minute rule’ – Focus on one task only for 20 minutes and then switch to another task for the next 20 minutes.
- Schedule time to batch several similar tasks together. You can then free your mind to focus solely on an important task, knowing you’ll be tackling several other tasks together shortly.
- Limit distractions – turn off notifications, including your phone, work in a quieter office away from other people etc.
- Practicing mindfulness daily can improve your ability to focus.
Focusing on one thing at a time not only improves productivity and performance, it reduces stress and anxiety.
You can read the full article by clicking here.