How Multi-Tasking Inhibits Productivity
Do you multi-task? Often find yourself doing two or more things at once? Of course you do – everyone does.
• You plan dinner while making breakfast.
• You write your presentation while in another meeting.
• You hang the washing while you talk to your kids.
• You listen to an audiobook while you exercise.
• You talk on the phone while stacking the dishwasher.
It’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
You multi-task because you’re clever. Because you’re efficient. You’re making the most of your time. You’re getting things sorted.
Yes, in some instances, multi-tasking can be a positive thing, a way to get tasks done quickly and efficiently, freeing us to spend time on the things we really want to be doing.
But what about the other side of the coin?
• Do you feel exhausted?
• Like you’re not doing anything well?
• Like you’re being torn in too many directions?
Despite what your overwhelmed, overworked, overcommitted brain may be telling you, you don’t need to do more.
You need to single-task.
Focus on just one thing at a time.
Not only is single-tasking the opposite of multi-tasking (obviously), it’s also a chance to practise complete mindfulness on the task at hand.
Single-tasking is the antidote to modern life, where we are taught that to be effective, productive and worthwhile, we must multi-task.
IT’S NOT ABOUT DOING LESS
As enticing as it sounds, focusing only on the task at hand all day, every day is impractical.
Instead, the ritual of single-tasking involves:
• choosing one task you regularly do during your day
• focusing solely on that task
• immersing yourself wholly and completely in experiencing it.
It helps you find the simple beauty and everyday joy in mindfully completing one task.
Practising this ritual of mindfulness brings you completely into the present moment. It teaches you how to be grateful for even the most mundane of tasks and opens your mind to the beauty of doing one thing wholeheartedly.
It might not be possible to single-task for your whole life – or even a whole day. But practising single-tasking once a day is entirely achievable. And it adds no time, as you choose a task you already do. Now this task serves an extra purpose: it’s a chance to clear the mental clutter – even for a moment.