The Multitasking Myth

Many think of productivity as being able to multitask efficiently.

Multitasking is seen as a necessity in the modern world. Doing several things at once ,emailing and talking at the same time is seen as a necessary evil.

But the belief that engaging in several tasks at once means we are more productive is a myth.

Instead of saving time, multitasking not only takes longer but also makes mistakes more likely.

We all know the immediate dangers of driving and talking on the phone, but even simple tasks such as updating social media while chatting to a friend have longer term negative effects on our mental and physical health!

Recent research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks in parallel. In fact, we just switch tasks quickly. Each time we move from hearing music to writing a text or talking to someone, there is actually a stop/start process that goes on in the brain.

The start/stop/start process: rather than saving time, it costs time.

It’s less efficient, we make more mistakes, and over time it can be saps our energy and willpower.

How to combat this and work more efficiently?

Mindfulness techniques have shown better concentration, improved productivity with less stress.

Set a timer and focus on just the one task in front of you with your full attention for 10 minutes. Ignore any distractions, turn off your phone notifications etc.

Try batch scheduling emails.

I will turn off notifications and only read and reply to email for 30 minutes at 11am, 4pm and 7pm

Sit down for those 30 minutes and clear out your email box.

Like anything, it takes practice. But once you get “into the flow” you’ll be surprised how productive you can be!