Warning: Multitasking Is Killing Your Productivity
“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.”
Take a moment and think about everything that you are doing right now.
In addition to reading this article, the chances are good that you are also doing several other things.
You might also be watching TV, checking your email, or talking on your phone.
If you are like most people, you think that you can save time by doing multiple things at once.
If so, you may be what researchers refer to as a “heavy multitasker.”
Your are probably thinking, “I am pretty good at multitasking, and that it actually helps me to get more done.”
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you are wrong.
You’ve been led to believe that the key to getting things done is to become a master of multitasking.
When in fact, just the opposite is true.
Before I explain the myths of multitasking, do yourself a favor and turn off all of your digital devices so that you can learn about the illusion of multitasking and what you can do about it.
The Multitasking Illusion
“Most of the time multitasking is an illusion. You think you are multitasking but in reality you’re actually wasting time switching from one task to another.” — Bosco Tjan
In the past, most people believed that multitasking was a good way to increase productivity. After all, if you’re working on several different tasks at once, you’re bound to accomplish more, right?
While most of us think that multitasking is performing two or more tasks simultaneously. Multitasking is really task-switching, or moving back and forth between two or more tasks.
This actually reduces productivity, because most of your attention is expended on the act of switching tasks, and you never really focus on either task.
Experts estimate that multitasking can actually lead to a 40 percent reduction in your productivity.
Unfortunately, multitasking does not save you time. In fact, research shows that it will take you longer to complete two tasks when multitasking than it would to complete each one separately.
Multitasking Is Killing You
Not only has research shown that multitasking reduces your productivity, it has also be shown to be harmful to your health. Here are the results of just a few of the many research studies related to multitasking:
“But new research is exposing how multitasking can actually have alarming consequences. And to be clear, I do not use the term “alarming” lightly, as should become clear from the following list:”
Guy Winch Ph.D
- Studies have also found that multitasking has a negative physical effect by prompting the release of stress hormones and adrenaline.
- Multitasking are that it is linked to short term memory loss, and can change your ability to concentrate and increase gaps in your attentiveness.
- Researchers found that people who multitask while eating don’t mentally process what they have eaten causing the to eat larger meals more often leading to weight gain.
The Multitasking Solution
The secret to multitasking is that it isn’t actually multitasking. It’s just extreme focus and organization.
Now that you understand the negative impacts of multitasking, what can you do about it?
The primary skill that you need to develop to overcome multitasking is FOCUS.
Focus on one task at a time.
This means means doing something, and thinking about what you’re doing at the same time. This means focusing on one task until it is completed or you are at a stopping point.
Three Ways To Improve Your Focus
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.”
1. Have A System
Keep all of your projects, next actions, and appointments in one place so that you can keep track of everything in your personal and professional life and keep things from falling through the cracks.
2. Plan Your Day
Plan your day the night before and be specific about what you want to accomplish. Focus on your top three next actions, and knock them out early in the day before you get distracted by the other “stuff.”
3. Schedule Your Email
Email is the number one distraction for most people. Turn off your email notifications, and schedule specific times during the day too check and respond to your email.
4. Control Social Media
When you are tempted to check your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time right now?”
If it is, great!
If not, resist the temptation and move on to your next important task.
Nowadays we have so many things that take our attention — phones, Internet — and perhaps we need to disconnect from those and focus on the immediate world around us and the people that are actually present. Nicholas Hoult
The next time you find yourself multitasking when you are trying to be productive, take a quick assessment of what you are trying to accomplish.
Eliminate the distractions and focus on the most important task at that time.
This will make you happier, healthier and more productive.
How can you minimize multitasking and to increase your productivity?
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