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FEBRUARY 24TH IS SINGLE TASKING DAY!

By February 24, 2015 2 Comments

Yeah! I’m happy to share that I can celebrate concentrating on just one thing without any apologies!

You may be pleasantly surprised (and perhaps relieved) to discover that “multitasking” is not the most efficient way to get things done.  A simple Google search will reveal more articles than you will ever have time to read that basically say that multitasking simply doesn’t work! February 24th is Single Tasking Day, an entire day dedicated to debunking the myth the multitasking is best.

So what is really happening when we try to multitask?  The brain is constantly switching back and forth between the different tasks.  In the article “Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work”, Harlvor Gregusson says that  “the human mind is physically incapable of processing two simultaneously occurring actions.” John Medina explains in his book Brain Rules that attempts to multitask  result in up to a 40% drop in productivity, up to 50% longer time to accomplish the task, up to 50% more errors, and a general increase in stress levels.

Take a look at the insightful infographic below; I would guess that most of us fall into the 98% who are less productive when we try to multitask!

multitasking

May I offer a simple alternative?

  1. DECIDE TO SINGLE TASK! Break down your “to-do” list into single actions. Turn off your phone or place it in another room when you start a task or project. Don’t automatically answer it every time it rings. Disconnect from all technology when you have the opportunity to be with real live people! Completely immerse yourself in the moment, whether washing dishes, reading a magazine, playing a game, gardening, or exercising. Listen without planning your immediate response. Think on just one topic at a time. Use just one technology device at a time.
  2. ORGANIZE YOUR ACTIONS into similar groups and schedule a specific time to do them. Give yourself a shorter deadline to encourage yourself to completely concentrate and to finally finish the task. I keep a kitchen timer right by my computer so I can try to “beat the clock” as I work! This is especially helpful when you wander into Facebook, Pinterest, or Email Land. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to discover I could wash the breakfast dishes in 10 minutes, finish my ironing in 15 minutes, and shovel the snow on my driveway and sidewalks in 35 minutes.
  3. ENJOY THE DELIGHTFUL BENEFITS! Others will notice when you give them the gift of your undivided attention. You will feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction by completely finishing a task. You will waste less time and have less stress. You will have the courage to tackle difficult project by breaking them down and matching them with your peak energy times. At the end of the day, you will feel more efficient and productive. Most of all, you will experience a sense of relief, like a refreshing breeze, that will surely bring a smile to your face.

What single task will you tackle today?

 

 

Sources:

http://mashable.com/2012/08/13/multitasking-infographic/

http://www.yast.com/productivity/multitasking-work/

https://hbr.org/2010/05/how-and-why-to-stop-multitaski.html

http://workplacepsychology.net/2011/04/04/multitasking-doesnt-work/

http://smartsimplemarketing.com/get-the-facts-how-multitasking-is-hurting-your-business/

 

Photo credit: Kalexanderson / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

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