Psychologists have discovered that humans are not built to multi-task. Our brains are really built to focus. Even though it feels like we’re being more efficient when we are juggling many tasks at once, working in a scattered way makes it difficult to stay on track and you may end the day with many things started and nothing completed.
Surely you could combine some tasks, like those that use different senses or different parts of the body like…
- Reading on an exercise bike
- Listening to a podcast while walking the dog or driving
- Watering the garden while talking on the phone
- Boiling water while cookies are baking in the oven.
But what do you notice about all of these activities? These are super simple tasks.
Doing two things at once turns the person with the cognitive capacity of a Harvard MBA down to an 8 year old. No matter how much you think you can multitask, the fact remains that you could ultimately focus on only ONE thing at a time. The moment you split your awareness up, you’re sacrificing time, quality and the ability to think deeply.
Most people seem to be operating in an environment of multi-distractions under the false impression that they’re productive just because they’re busy! It’s far better to focus on one significant task and get a chunk of it finished before starting a new one.
So… if you’re running around like a headless chicken trying to get a bunch of things done at once… STOP.
1) Take a breath. Center yourself.
2) Remind yourself that you can get a lot more done if you focus on ONE thing at a time. Multi-tasking is often multi-distracting.
3) Whip up a to-do-list real quick.
This way your brain doesn’t have to worry about forgetting anything OR keep having to repeatedly think about things to not forget them.
4) Prioritize the list!
Due to subconscious-self-sabotage, you will want to put off the hardest (or most frightening) task off until later (or forever). So the solution is to do the most frightening or challenging task on your list FIRST. If you get that challenging thing done first, you will feel great about yourself and the rest of the day will feel like a breeze.
5) Go out there and attack that list, one at a time.