Many of us view multitasking as a good thing –a badge of honor, a sign that someone’s super busy –and productive.
But it’s important to remember that busyness and productivity are two separate things.
In truth, multitasking can be counterproductive, to your work, your creativity, and the end results. When you have a lot to finish –and difficult tasks to accomplish, multi-tasking may be your worst enemy –rather than your friend.
Let’s take a look at seven reasons why you should say no when it comes to multitasking, and instead focus on one task at a time.
It Causes a Loss of Focus
Most of us regularly attempt to do two –or more things at a time. If you have young kids at home or are working to juggle a family and professional career, then there’s a good chance that you do it multiple times a day. But while multitasking is necessary some of the time, it can result in a loss of focus –not what you want when you’re trying to do something that ideally requires your complete attention. Make sure you save the vital tasks for a time when you’re able to focus more clearly –allowing you to complete them without interruptions.
Research shows that multitasking isn’t just inefficient –it’s stressful. Multitasking can cause a lot of stress on your body –both physically and mentally. When your mind is overloaded, it is only normal that you will become stressed as well. Being able to do one thing at a time, instead of frantically dashing between tasks, is a true relief –you’ll be more in control and feel on top of things, instead of buried under a pile of work that you can’t dig yourself out of.
Many view multitasking a way to save time, but the truth is that often, it can often waste time. When you multitask your attention is divided –when that happens, there is a higher chance that you will make mistakes. The time that’s “saved” by multitasking will be used up at a later date when you have to go back and correct your errors.
Results in Lower Quality Work
Multitasking can compromise the quality of work you normally deliver. When you multitask you will subconsciously be looking for ways to save time on tasks, which can cause you to cut corners –however unintentionally. Switching back and forth can also cause you to lose your train of thought, resulting in lower quality work.
It’s Bad for Your Mind
Our brains are designed to focus on one task at a time –therefore, when we try to focus on multiple tasks at the same time we are forcing our brains to flip back and forth in a rapid pace. Forcing our minds to switch back and forth can be damaging. Check out this study that shows the connection between multiple media platforms and lower gray matter density in the brain.
Reduces Your Productivity
According to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, the term “multitasking” isn’t even correct –it’s more like task-switching. This means that you’re most likely not really doing two things at once you’re switching back and forth quickly, which prevents you from being able to focus on anything for too long. “But having a great ability to lose focus isn’t admirable,” writes Julie Neidlinger over at the CoSchedule blog. Julie also mentions that studies show multitasking reduces your productivity –by a whopping 40 percent!
Drains Your Creativity
Forcing our brains to operate at full power –all the time, can be extremely draining. Our creative thoughts and ideas have an extremely short lifespan, meaning that when a creative idea enters –and we are tied up “multitasking” the thought will slip away. Over time, our brains become prone to blocking these ideas –leaving us with ‘creative block’ –and drained of creativity.
So the next time you feel pressured into trying to tackle more than you can at the same time –stop and ask yourself “Is it really worth it?” True, multitasking can be a necessary evil, but whenever possible, give yourself some breathing room. Try to edit your schedule to allow time that’s needed to accomplish each task separately –one thing at a time. Don’t try to be a superhuman and pile everything onto your plate. Cut yourself some slack, and don’t be afraid to say no. If you’re constantly feeling pressured and struggling to fit everything into a day, it may be time to make some big decisions, reevaluate the things that you’re doing, and weed out the ones that aren’t absolutely essential.
By cutting back, and taking time for yourself–and the things that really matter, you’ll be more focused, and have the luxury of being able to devote more time to things that demand your full attention. Your schedule will look better –and you’ll feel better too!
If you’re struggling to fit it all in, you need a system that will help you to prioritize and enable you to achieve a work/life balance while helping you to work towards your goals. Day Designer is an exciting planner with a system will help you to map out your day –purposefully. Try a free sample page today.
Image: Chris Blakeley