IS MULTI-TASKING ACTUALLY THE BEST STRATEGY?

  • Aug 29, 2017

I’m willing to bet we all multi-task. We’re trying to answer emails while in a meeting. We’re taking conference calls while we’re in the car. Or we’re trying to listen to a podcast while writing a blog post. There are hosts of blog articles out there on the web talking about how to mutli-task to get more done in your day. And it’s appealing, right? The ability to get more done in less amount of time, so we can spend more time with our families, friends, or just relaxing.

BUT IS MULTI-TASKING ACTUALLY THE BEST STRATEGY FOR GETTING THINGS DONE?

Research seems to say no. Research has found that multi-tasking may not really be a real thing. Instead, we’re attempting to rapidly “task-switch” back and forth between what we’re trying to accomplish. When you put it that way, it sounds less appealing. People actually tend to be slower when doing multiple things at once. You’re requiring your brain to keep switching what it is thinking about and the “start-up” time to begin a new task actually adds additional time. According to LivePlan, multitasking can cause the quality of your work to suffer.  Read more here.

According to the BBC, what is being called as “infomania” is affecting a lot of workers. People are becoming more distracted by their technology while they should be focusing on something else and this is actually causing their IQ to drop. Sleeping habits are also being affected. Read more here.

SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

  1. Figure out what are daily priorities are. Each morning, we should choose 3-5 tasks that we need to get done. Those are the ones we focus on. Once those are complete, we can worry about adding additional tasks to our list. By doing this we’re giving ourselves a better chance at focusing on what’s important versus what just seems urgent.
  2. Turn off the electronics. When you’re knee deep in a project, resist to urge to check your emails or social media. Silence your phone. Close any extra browsers. Help yourself stay focused by minimizing distractions.
  3. Check out these tips from the Harvard Business Review for how to balance your time.
  4. Liveplan also shares 5 tips for increasing your productivity (without attempting to multi-task).

What are your thoughts? Do you have recommendations for increasing productivity?