I used to feel that multitasking was a gift and a strength. What I have found is that it can be a weakness and distraction, resulting in less productivity, less focus, less presence, and less efficiency.
When a person multitasks, they are attempting to deal with more than one task at the same time. When a computer multitasks, it executes more than one program or task at a time simultaneously.
I have had an eclectic career with too many jobs to count. Looking back, most jobs that I applied to included multitasking as a prerequisite. But did they really want that? Or were they seeking a highly productive person?
Think about a computer. The more programs you open, the more browsers, the more tabs, the music, social media – it all requires resources. And even today, computers have limited resources and will “crash” if we ask them to multitask beyond their limits.
Why should humans be any different?
Where does multitasking show up?
- we text while we walk, while we eat
- send emails while on the phone or video conference
- chat on the phone while driving or cooking dinner
- we set our notifications so that we are alerted to every email, text, instant message, like, comment or share!
We seem to think that doing just one thing is not luxurious, but wasteful or at the very least, we worry we won’t get as much done. However, I recently read a Stanford Report that found the minds of multitaskers are not working as well as they should.
So, I’ve decided to ditch my habit of multitasking and replace it with focusing on one thing at a time.
I’ve turned off notifications on my phone and computer. I only open one tab or app at a time. I turned off the background music that was always playing, pulling my mind in a different direction. When I sit down to write, I turn everything off.
I am a work in progress, however, I am finding that projects at work that I used to struggle with now get done with ease. I’m still getting just as much – if not more – done with an added bonus: I am feeling more relaxed, focused, present and efficient.
The less I multitask, the more productive I am.
I’d say that’s a win!