We live in a world where, for most of us, multitasking is a must.
With so many things going on around us—plus the inundation of work and tasks that need to be finished, the ability to complete everything seems to come down to our ability to multitask. But does this make us more efficient?
A number of studies indicate that multitasking can often cause more harm than good. According to the American Psychological Association, shifting between tasks can cost you up to 40 percent of productive time. You might feel like you’re accomplishing more—but don’t be fooled. You could be taking a longer and less efficient route to getting things done. This is especially the case when it comes to tasks that require a high level of concentration.
Whether you mean to or not, there’s a good chance that you’re multitasking throughout the day. Mundane tasks, worries, and countless other distractions can all eat into our time. Before we know it, we’re wasting time—and finding it difficult to focus.
If you’d like to spend more time devoting your full attention to the project or task at hand, it’s important to be aware of common distractions. Arm yourself with a plan for avoiding or combating them as they arise.
With this in mind, here’s a look at a few ways that multitasking might present itself throughout your busy day.
Distracted on Your Phone
While living in the digital age certainly has its benefits, there are some problems that arise from being connected all the time. The reality is that spending too much time on the phone can cause us to feel that we’re better at multitasking than we are. Going to lunch and checking your phone for emails, or talking with a friend over the screen of your computer while you attempt to finish work might seem productive—but in reality, you’re splitting your attention between two different things. Instead of attempting to accomplish things simultaneously, devote your attention to the task at hand—especially if it’s something that deserves your full attention.
Dealing With Clutter
While clutter might not seem like it could be causing a distraction, such as facing a disorganized workspace or home—it can force you into multitasking mode. Clutter can cause your mind to wander, and instead of focusing on your work, you’ll be thinking about the piles of papers sitting in front of you—or the mountain of laundry that needs to be folded. We work better in a clean environment because the mind doesn’t have to try to block out the other distractions—which allows us to focus 100 percent on the task at hand, helping us accomplish more.
Derailed By Distractions
Let’s face it, as much as we’d like it to be, life isn’t distraction free. Whether it’s tasks at home or phone calls and coworkers at work, we’re always up against some form of distraction. For some tasks, multitasking is okay! For example, most of us are capable of cooking dinner and chatting with our family at the same time. But when you have an important task on the agenda—or a pressing matter that needs to be tended to, it’s important to carve out time that you can devote specifically to the project. Turn your phone off, sign out of the inbox, and focus solely on the task at hand.
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While it’s easy to give in to the temptation of multitasking, focusing on one thing at a time will actually increase your productivity and eliminate unnecessary stress. In the end, what matters most is finding solutions that work for you. We have just the tool you need to stay on track. Day Designer is a simple and easy system created to help you live a well-designed life. View our latest edition here!