Ever felt that unscratchable itch to watch a Netflix series/YouTube video while working on some project? I know I am having one now!
I call that the “MULTI-TASKING ITCH”.
We are in a habit of thinking that being able to do multiple things together is a habit of productivity.
Some think that they are pro at it. I mean who wouldn’t want to finish a bunch of things in a short period, but it is not a great idea as people think it. Many pieces of research conducted on the effectiveness of multi-tasking arrive at one conclusion.
Multi-Tasking is an enemy of productivity and mental health.
In this post we are going to find out :
1. How does multitasking affect our productivity
2. How does it affect our body
3. How to avoid multitasking.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT OUR PRODUCTIVITY?
First, let’s understand two concepts.
In basic language when you switch between 2 or most task, your brain has to stores the information of the current task you are doing before going on another task. When you do this with too many tasks in a short interval of time it takes its toll on your brain.
Our brain is unable to switch from one task to another quickly and this lowers our brainpower in the longer term.
When we switch between tasks, our brain store information of the previous task, so it’s hard for us to concentrate on the new task at hand immediately. It takes at least 10 min for our brain to focus properly at a given job in front of us.
This is why if you keep switching between tasks in every 30 min you will end up wasting more time in context switching than working on the job you have to do.
We have a limited reservoir of energy. So when we do anything we put up our energy into it. So when we do one task,100% of our energy goes in it. When we try to do two of them, we waste 20% in switching and productivity is just 80% (40% for each task).Now as you go on further increasing the tasks, you can see in the figure below…By doing 5 tasks at the same time, you do absolutely nothing.
In simple words, As Multitasking increases, productivity decreases. However, if you thought that’s it; it’s not.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT OUR BODY?
A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.
Yes, multitasking is making you dumb.
Even more disturbingly, researchers discovered that merely sitting near somebody who is multitasking drops your comprehension by an astounding 17 per cent. This is apparently due to the visual pollution of seeing the other person’s screen or activities, which forces your brain to interpret what it’s seeing…which takes more effort than the multitasking itself.
That’s not all. There is one more aspect to it. When we are switching between our tasks our brain is exploded with a bunch of stress hormones, that inflict permanent damage on your brain. Our brain cells are destroyed in the process. Multitasking is killing our brain.
Now, that we have understood the point..
How to Avoid Multitasking?
1. Keep a notebook with you to remind you of tasks you have to do.
We all have that moment while working when we remember a certain task in the middle. This follows the uneasy feeling that we may forget to do it later. So the next thing we do is… switch the task. Well, we are very forgetful indeed so the concern is right. However, we have a way to tackle it. Keep a notepad with you (or you can use any app on phone), so whenever you remember such tasks, just jot it down and continue with the current task. Writing the task does two things. Firstly, it reinforces the task in your memory and secondly, you now have the task written down so the chances of you forgetting are now almost ZERO. So, now you can work without the fear of forgetting something and hence work more productively.
2. Turn off distractions
The ping… sound on your mobile, the notification of an E-mail is enough to distract our minds. Attention span o humans is 6 seconds. So, once you focus on those distractions, you will have a hard time concentrating back on the task on hand. So, its probably a good idea to make sure that you are not distracted in the first place. To, do so make sure of a few things. Choose your workspace wisely. Make sure that you have a designated workplace for you which has zero to minimum distractions. You can also use some applications on your laptop and mobile to block apps so send notifications on designated times. Check out This for some of the best App blockers. Check this Link for some other tools.
3. Calendar/Time blocking
Planning is an important part of being on schedule. Calendar Blocking is an effective tool for that. In simple words, it is blocking out certain blocks of time for a task and do it on a calendar. It’s also called Time blocking. Block your time each day for the things you have to do, and more importantly schedule a time for DISTRACTIONS. This means that block out the time you plan to watch T.V, go outside and enjoy. put out these things physically on your calendar. My most favourite tool is google calendar for this as it is a multi-platform tool that you can access from anywhere. Using the apple calendar also does the trick. You can check out this BLOG right here too. 4. Have clarity
Having clarity means understanding which tasks need your focused attention first. You need to set priorities and put first things first. Only then you will be able to keep your head on one thing at a time. For this purpose, I have shared with you this PRIORITY PLANNER template that will help you to work all round the day. The way things works are… All the tasks you have to do are divided into this 4 categories
- Important & urgent
- Important & not urgent
- Not important & urgent
- Not important and not urgent
All you have to do is write out the tasks that you have to do in this form at the start of the day and then work around them. Prioritize the things that need to come first.
Even when you are working on one task, make sure that you are mindful of it. Being mindful means when you are doing one thing, you connect to it so much that it becomes your primary focus. It makes it easier for you to ignore other distractions and focus on it. Being mindful is concentrating on the present moment, living in the present. Not worrying about the present or future.
I hope, this helps you to live the life you want. I have created a community group on Facebook, to which I invite you, to be a part of. It’s a place where we interact with each other and grow to be a better version of ourselves. The Group joining link is in down below so be sure to check it out.
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