I often hear people talking about how they have so much happening in their life that they are constantly juggling and ‘multi-tasking’. The problem is that rather than managing better they are creating more work and stress for themselves. The brain does not multi-task, rather it toggles very fast between tasks so rapidly that we perceive it as seamless concentration on multiple things.
Research indicates that people actually longer to complete tasks and are more likely to make errors. As the brain switches attention between tasks gaps occur – things drop out of online thinking. We need to redress the gap between research and perceptions of multi-tasking, especially as the idea of ‘multi-tasking’ is highly valued. Multi-tasking leads to inefficiency and errors, and creates undue stress.
• Do one thing at a time – uni-task
• Write a list of your things to do and systematically work through it and cross off items as you go so you feel accomplished
• When interrupted quickly jot down where you where /what you were doing when so you can return back to the task efficiently
• Get a routine to save brain power from organising yourself everyday
• Reduce the number of minor decisions – eat the same breakfast, establish a ‘work uniform’– so you can be creative and productive
• Schedule email, Facebook, twitter etc. at specific times and ignore them outside those times
• Switch-off devices and arrange to have no interruptions when you need to concentrate