Are you constantly checking email while on phone calls? Or jumping back and forth between tasks on your computer?
Do you end your days feeling frazzled, like you got nothing done and wondering where your time went?
Studies have shown that effectiveness drops by 69% for women when we multitask! That’s huge! I’ve also heard that it can take 90 seconds to get back to a task for each email notification that distracts us (turn off your notifications!) Think about how many emails you get in a day and much time is wasted with these distractions!
Imagine how much more you could get done in a day if you focused on one task at a time?! Our brains can’t work efficiently when focusing on more than one task at a time.
Yes, some things can be done simultaneously. Running a load of laundry while you’re cleaning the kitchen. Exercising while listening to your favorite podcast or talking to a friend. Stirring something on the stove while talking on the phone. Tasks that require little focus (or no focus, like laundry) can be done together.
But if you’re working on a big work project, only focus on the tasks associated with that project. Processing emails count as needing focus. (and please, no talking or texting while driving. Driving counts as one of those high-functioning tasks that you should focus on while doing it).
We’re so used to multitasking, what can we do about it? Here are some ways to break the habit:
- Be aware of when you start to multitask. Catch yourself and get yourself to focus on one task.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on one task. You can stop when the timer goes off, or you can reset it for another 15 minutes.
- Focus on one task at a time. If another task pops into your brain while you’re working on something, quickly write it down on a nearby piece of paper and get back to the task.
- Know your top 3-5 tasks for the day and have a general plan.
Let me know how you feel about multitasking. Do you think you’re good at it or do you feel that it pulls you in too many directions?