It’s important to note that multitasking and background tasking are two different things. Background tasking can be driving your car while listening to music or podcast – it means using different sections of your brain at the same time, and that works very well.
Multitasking is actually switch tasking. You’re trying to use the same section of your brain on two or more tasks. This could be working on your computer while talking on the phone, for example. It just doesn’t work out because we can’t give our equal attention to both of these tasks.
Have you ever gone home at the end of the day and felt literally brain dead? It’s very likely that multitasking is contributing to this. Many of us spend the majority of our days online and using a computer – I know I do – and doing this uses up our neural resources. These resources can be depleted every time we switch between tasks. So doing this all day every day can be extremely daunting.
When we’re focused on doing a project only efficiently and not effectively, we’re not really doing our best work because we’re too focused on the time that it’s taking. By using the solution of monotasking, you will be focused on your work and in return it will be done effectively. Focusing on one task only allows you to be more creative, push boundaries and not have to go back and correct as many errors later.
At the end of the day you need to be able to relax. I found that I would mindlessly glance at my phone and think about different things I needed to keep doing or redo. I had to really focus to try to get rid of that and focus more on monotasking. I think you’ll find that when you monotask, you will enjoy tasks more and have an improved experience in many ways.
When we’re focused on doing a project only efficiently and not effectively, we’re not really doing our best work because we’re too focused on the time that it’s taking.
Monotasking (or single tasking) is dedicating yourself to doing one thing at a time. When you do this, it’s going to make a difference in your daily life. Think of monotasking as mindfulness. We can do this in a few different steps:
When your mind begins to wander, acknowledge it and bring your attention back to the task at hand.
The first day is going to be hardest – I’ll tell you that right now. It’ll feel like you’re working so slowly since we’re conditioned to multitask. If you consciously and deliberately tell yourself that you must finish the task and keep going, you will actually get much more done!
Here are my top 5 tips you can start using right now:
When you get the urge to stop what you’re doing and redirect yourself, I encourage you to simply take a deep breath and refocus so that you can get back to your task/project.
I know in our modern lives it’s not possible to never multitask, but when you focus on being mindful, practice monotasking and use these tips, you’ll find that your projects and tasks get done faster and more effectively.
If you want even more details or extra help on these tips, listen to episode 010 of the podcast. Even write down these tips in your planner or journal. I personally love having reminders of all sorts – from how to say “no” to people and requests I don’t have time for, to a list of easy and simple ways to monotask!