The Truth About Multitasking
You've got your Facebook browser open on your cell phone. You have a last minute project due for your boss or client. You're trying to listen to your favorite recent podcast in the background. You are about to respond to that text that just came in but that 50+ email notification indicator just keeps staring at you, demanding that you open every last email...now.
Not a problem. You are one of the best multi-taskers in the world! You are the King (or Queen) of operating more than 2, 3 or 4 activities at a time.
While multitasking may seem like a great skill to possess, have you ever stopped to think about whether or not this is affecting the quality of your work? I recently noticed that when I focus on one task at a time, I am less likely to have to go back to clean things up or finally complete it. I am able to put more thought and focus into each project at a time, whether it's typing up an email or executing a workout on time. The following are some specific reasons why multitasking may not be so great after all.
- It causes you to switch gears between tasks, increasing the amount of time that it would normally take you to do one of them alone. Doing this can be pretty insufficient.
- It can increase stress! We already have enough going on in life as it is. I don't know about you, but finding a different way to mitigate stress and still get things done sounds pretty good to me.
- Multitasking increases the average amount of errors made.
The following are some tips that can mitigate the effects of multitasking:
Knock out your most important task in the morning!
Daily reading is incredibly important to me, so I try to knock that out as soon as I get out of bed. Waking up early, of course, requires preparing the night before, as well as going to bed at an appropriate hour.
Have a to-do list.
Creating a list puts you in a position to visually select one task at a time. It also helps you not move on to other tasks until you have checked the other one off first!
Keep a notebook handy.
I'm not exactly sure who said it, but I once heard someone say, "My notebook is a net that I use to catch my ideas." Keeping a notebook around allows you to jot things down and come back to them later, instead of forgetting and remembering while in the middle of something else. So, make sure that your net is always ready!
Like many other things, growth requires time and consistency. Try knocking out your most difficult task as early as possible and get it over with! Create a to-do list for your most important tasks and have a notebook ready to capture those thoughts and ideas that pop into your head throughout the day! Next week I'll be diving even further into moving life from coarse to sleek.
"Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." -Jim Rohn