Do you believe multi-tasking works?
It may be helpful to know that multi-tasking has been proven to not only reduce efficiency and effectiveness, but in fact is not true “multi” tasking at all.
Studies Prove Multi-Tasking Doesn’t Work In fact, a HuffPost article entitled “Multi-Tasking Doesn’t Work” states:
“…if you increase the number of things to which the brain needs to pay attention, it results in bottlenecks that can block awareness of important information and disrupt your ability to make decisions.
In short, doing two or more tasks at once usually leads to impairment in at least one of them.” (Rudy Vidal, Apr 20, 2017)
In essence, your brain cannot fully focus on two things at once, so when we try to do two tasks at one time it results in our brains having to switch from one tasks to the other very rapidly, resulting in lower quality and focus.
Even routine things like brushing our teeth or doing the dishes require some element of focus…
Have you tried driving somewhere and missing the turn because you were talking to someone on the speaker phone?
When we multi-task we aren’t fully engaged in one thing. By juggling multiple tasks, we end up with poorer results.
Focus-Task on One Thing New York Times Bestselling author, Darren Hardy is quoted by saying, “You can do anything once you stop trying to do everything.”
Focusing on one thing at a time allows for better results by giving that task your full brain power.
2 Ways to Start Focus-Tasking
But, how do we learn to “focus-task” each day?
Two things that you can start doing now that make a huge difference in “focus-tasking” is time-blocking and pre-day planning.
Time-blocking is a way to set aside specific times during our day for specific tasks. For example, setting aside 1pm-2pm to work on your blog post, or prepare your presentation for work, etc. By setting aside a specific time for a specific task, you are giving your brain time to focus on the one particular task you have at hand. It also means that during that time you block out any other distractions, such as phone calls, texting, scrolling social media, or hanging out with friends. You use that time to turn off everything else and focus on that task. When we time-block we not only get more accomplished, but with dedicated focus on that task, it is completed with more quality overall.
The second way we can create more “focus-tasking” in our daily routines is by planning our day in advance or what I call, doing our “pre-day prep”. This is when we sit down with our planner the evening before our next day and look at our calendar of to-do’s. From that calendar, we write down the main events of the next day, including appointments, or important events. We then scan all the to-do things we’d like to accomplish, whether it be for that day or week and only pick 3 to-do’s that we want to prioritize for the next day. It may be tempting to do more, but it’s always best to write down 3 things you KNOW you can do and anything extra is the cherry on top. Once you write your top 3 priorities for the next day, time-block your schedule and set aside time in your calendar and possibly a reminder in your phone, so you know during those times you will not be distracted, but focus on what you need to accomplish.
Remember, one thing at a time. Our brains can trick us into thinking we can still do multiple things at once, but that’s simply not the case. Trust me, “focus-tasking” is the way to go…always!
Your Tidy Tip of the Week! 1. Write down a few things you tend to “multi-task” daily (We all have times when we try to do two or more things at once…what’s yours?)
2. Pick 1 hour each day when you will “Focus-Task” (Jot down a specific hour during your day when you will intentionally focus on one task or item at a time without thinking about or trying to do another task.)
3. Record Thoughts in Journal (Write down what “focus-tasking” vs. “multi-tasking” did for you? How did it effect your day and what results came from focusing on one task at a time?)
Let’s end the juggling act and create true focus in our lives by simply doing ONE task at a time. Doing one thing really well is better than many things poorly.