Could it be that multitasking is less effective than we think? Well when you consider the effects of things like hustle culture and career burnout, yes! If you want to be more productive, experts now suggest you try monotasking.
Thatcher Wine, author of "The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better,” says that multitasking is just “task switching” which “overloads our brains and causes a significant amount of stress. [Additionally], studies have shown that tasks take longer and we make more mistakes than if we had done one thing at a time.” Here are some signs that multitasking is working against you:
- You struggle to pay attention to the task at hand.
- You’re susceptible to distractions.
- You frequently make mistakes or misunderstand an assignment.
- You feel burnt out, especially as the day goes on.
- You often forget details from interactions.
- Your interactions with others don’t feel as meaningful.
- Others sometimes ask for your attention.
Here are some ways to improve your focus:
- Turn phone notifications off or put your plane in airplane mode.
- Keep your phone in another room or in your bag when spending time with others.
- Close your email window.
- Change your Slack status to “focusing” and pause notifications.
- Schedule time for deep focus (put it on your calendar, if necessary).
- Set a time limit for how long you want to focus on a task and work through the set period of time.
- Identify other common distractions and remove/mitigate them as best as you can.