9 Ways to Manage Your Multitasking Monster
People today are always multitasking. How could you not? Technology makes it easy to casually surf from place to place, abandoning all focus.
Multitasking is a part of life, but ultimately you control your attention. It’s not easy for most people, but if you want to stay focused avoiding multitasking too much is important.
In this post, we’re going to debunk the multitasking myth and show that it’s not a good thing to do! Also, we’ll share nine things you can to do thwart your multitasking habits.
Photo Credit: Proudlove
The Multitasking Myth
Some people think multitasking is okay and it’s good to multitask. The American Psychological Association disagrees. In one study, the APA found an estimated 40 percent drop in productivity for people who multitask. The American Psychological Association also has the following to say about multitasking:
“The measurements revealed that for all types of tasks, subjects lost time when they had to switch from one task to another, and time costs increased with the complexity of the tasks, so it took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks.”
Another study – this time from Stanford University – found multitaskers less productive than single-tasked focused individuals, in addition to having a lack of self-control.
A recent Forbes article interviewed Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and bestselling author of five books, to get the lowdown on multitasking. Julie says multitasking hurts your brain and decreases your effectiveness at work:
“It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain cannot effectively or efficiently switch between tasks, so you lose time. It takes four times longer to recognize new things so you’re not saving time; multitasking actually costs time.”
In theory, multitasking sounds awesome. But the reality shows that to be untrue.
The multitasking problem arises when you’re multitasking several things at once – and doing a crummy job because you’re not focusing your attention to one, specific task.
But what can you do about it?
How to Battle Multitasking in 9 Different Ways
Here are nine actionable steps you can take to fight multitasking. The nine ways below are things that task-focused, effective people do. If you think you spend too much time dilly dallying when you should be getting stuff done, the following nine ways to stop multitasking are just for you.
Photo Credit: archer10 (Dennis)
1. State your desired result. Either write your gown on paper, use a project manage webapp (like Teamwork), or a combination of both. To stop multitasking you need to first make it clear what you’re aiming to do.
2. Work your way backwards from your goal. Once you know your goal, think about what needs to occur to get the results you want. For example, if your goal is to bake a cake, you’ll need to know what temperature the oven needs to be and what ingredients to use.
3. Make a list of necessary steps. Use a todo app like AnyDo, or a sheet of paper to create a checklist of every step you must complete. With a visual series of steps, you’re more likely to stay on track.
4. Delegate to others. In some cases, it’s literally impossible to do all that’s required by yourself. If you’re in this situation, you can find others more skilled than you in certain tasks, so you can spend your time on things you do best.
5. Use a productivity app. There apps on the web (like RescueTime) that’ll block certain sites, or limit them to 15 minutes a day. This is great for people that spend too much time on social media or addictive websites instead of working.
6. Eliminate non-authoritative language. Words like “should” are not good for you. Instead, use words like “must” and “will”. Don’t say, “I should do that next.” Say, “I WILL do that next.” This small change will keep your focused.
7. Minimize distractions. If it’s not helping you, get rid of it. This includes apps, things on your desk, and anything else that has the potential to sway you away from your desired result.
8. Set tighter deadlines. We all naturally procrastinate. “I’ll just do it later,” is something we often say to ourselves. If you set shorter, but reasonable, deadlines you’re less likely to procrastinate.
9. Take a break. Sometimes multitasking happens when we overburden ourselves. It’s surprising how a ten minute walk can improve your focus.
If you’re looking for help with getting writing your business, contact Sūmèr. Maybe we can be of assistance to you, so you can stay focused on the things you do best.