Why Multitasking is Bad for Productivity
There was a time when I felt that multitasking was a skill that everyone must have to be successful. That was back in the day when I was an Executive Assistant and being able to multi-task was a must as I was constantly interrupted and had to switch tasks depending on someone else’s priorities which changed often.
Nowadays I work in a role where I am required to produce content, reports and manage multiple social media accounts. I have found that if I am constantly interrupted, I am unable to produce quality work, it takes longer to produce a document or write a blog post, and this all brings on higher levels of stress.
So, I have kicked multi-tasking to the kerb, and I now set tasks that I focus on for certain periods of time which has increased my productivity.
So what should you do about it? There are a few things you can do to combat the problem of multitasking.
- Try to mix up your activities. If you feel that you must do two things at once, then go about it with the right combination of complexity and simplicity. The key is to match high cognitive activities with physical tasks. For example, go for a walk and get your blog post outline organised in your head. You can even use a voice recorder while you walk. Also, how about talking to a client while making a cup of coffee? Also, reading while listening to classical music can help.
- Choose some better tools so that you can focus on writing and nothing else until you are done.
- Learn how to say “no” so that you can weed out the projects that bore you that drive you to keep on looking at social media instead of working.
- Turn your phone off so that all those beeps and notifications don’t distract you. You can attend to those things later. Focus on what you need to do now.
- Finish one thing at a time. Don’t work to someone else’s schedule, work to yours.
You will find that if you put some of these practices into place, your stress levels will drop and you will make real progress on challenging projects. You will stop feeling rushed at the end of the day to achieve something and won’t leave projects unfinished.
Henry Ford said it best “A weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once.” When you are doing two or three things at once, you’re not focused 100% on each task – you’re only giving 50% or 33% to each task.
With a good information management system, you will be able to decide which task is most important, focus on it 100%, complete it, and then move on to the next project.
Good luck with reducing your multitasking and if you want to learn how to be more productive. Sign up for the 7 Day Productivity Challenge below.