Featured Image: @this_is_ess
Article By: Melina Brum
Whether it’s texting and talking at the same time, or simultaneously writing an essay while watching tv a lot of us partake in ‘multitasking’ on a daily basis. Multitasking is recognized as balancing two tasks at the same moment. The truth is, multitasking isn’t necessarily a real accomplishment. In actuality, it’s merely participating in two or more jobs at an inefficient pace. People are prided on their multitasking skills.
Meanwhile, studies show it can negatively affect mental health. Although it may feel like you’re superwoman (or superman) by conquering all the tasks at once, it seems to be stifling productivity. In an age of technological distractions, this appears to be the last thing we need. Time management is crucial, but with the advancement of technology, it has become much harder to balance.
When you attempt to do two things at once, chances are you won’t do either one very well. Think about it; you’re not able to dedicate your undivided attention to each task individually. Rather than it being an effective way to get things done faster, it’s more so an effective way to get less done. Not to mention this results in making more mistakes and sometimes having to start all over, therefore losing more time. In a progressive, fast-paced world, sometimes the only way to keep up is to stop and focus on one thing at a time.
Although we are wonderful creatures with ample ability to do many, many things we were wired to do it all one step at a time. Consider how dangerous texting and driving is, these tasks weren’t meant to work together. By rapidly switching our attention to each activity, we are compromising our ability to complete the tasks accurately. This is because beginning a new task takes some time to register in our brains. Once abruptly pausing the previous task, our mind becomes briefly impaired to the next task. Think about when you’re writing something down, and someone is trying to talk to you. When you emerge from your writing task, your brain needs a second to register what that person was saying— “sorry, can you say that again?”
Picture this theoretical situation: you’re assigned two essays that need to meet completion at the same time. You have left yourself no time to work on them separately (I don’t recommend this). You are now forced to finish these opposing essays simultaneously. As if this isn’t stressful enough, your attention is going to remain in limbo. By alternating between each assignment, your mind is going to be tainted by the topic of your previous essay—and vice versa. This means you’re going to have a pretty tricky time discussing one subject while your mind is still focusing on the other. If you were to fixate your mind on one task instead, this would reduce any dents in your attention.
Imagine a surgeon focusing on something else while performing a life-changing surgery on your body. How does that make you feel? Probably quite uneasy—keep this in mind when you find yourself trying to multitask. I’m not saying that every task is comparable to open-heart surgery but hear me out. The proficiency of a job is based on the capability to provide total attention to it patiently.
How to optimize time management without multitasking:
Turn Off Your Notifications
When you’re working on something that would benefit from your full attention, put your phone in do not disturb mode. All those dings and pings are very distracting and will throw your thoughts off guard.
Make A To-Do List
If you list out all your priorities for the day, you will feel more organized and inclined to check off each one. As humans, we desire fulfillment and the completion of tasks can provide this feeling. As long as you are finalizing these duties one at a time, you can count on feeling productive and accomplished.
Give Yourself A Break
Try to squeeze some detox time into your schedule. By this I mean you should completely disconnect from work, social media, and all technological interaction. Give yourself a minimum of 1-2 hours of solitude. In this time, you can read, write, think, talk, exercise whatever relaxes that busy mind of yours.
Focus on the moment!!! When you’re concentrating on one task, other thoughts will scoot their way into your mind. It is important to acknowledge those thoughts, but remember to redirect your attention to the moment you’re in. Mindfulness is one of the most important factors when it comes to successful productivity.
Keep An Organized Environment
Nothing is worse than trying to finish an assignment on a messy desk. A scattered area makes you more prone to a scattered mind. Also, if you know where everything is, then it will make working on your task much more relaxed.
Sometimes multitasking happens out of habit. Next time you find your thoughts dwindling toward another chore, divert your attention back. Once you beat your habits, you will see that your time is being used more efficiently. After all, time is money.
If you do two things at a time, you’re missing the point of life. There is enough time in the day to complete tasks one by one. Why are you in a rush anyway? Figure out the root of your problem. You don’t need to worry—your next task isn’t going anywhere, it’ll be patiently waiting for you when you’re done. Your phone, your friends, your tv shows and movies they will also be there, so don’t fret. If you make an effort to apply yourself to one thing at a time thoroughly, you will learn more in the process. If we mindlessly flow through life without adequately focusing, you’re missing out on precision and knowledge.
I challenge you to challenge yourself. Try to avoid multitasking on your next project and pay attention to the results. Is your work more efficient? Did you feel more productive? How was your experience overall? These are important things to pay attention to. Little progressive changes like this will benefit the overall outcome of everything you do in life.