One thing at a time.
Monotasking is the new multitasking
Can you resist the urge to check your social media accounts, then scoot across to your emails and while you are doing that make yourself lunch? Up until now we have been priding ourselves on how many balls we can juggle in the air like a badge of honour. The more balls in the air, the more accomplished we feel.
Thank goodness we can all take a sigh of relief. Now we can embrace monotasking knowing that it is actually proven not only to be a more efficient and effective way to work, it actually contributes to lowering stress and increasing enjoyment in life. Those days of the anxiety rising, the deadlines looming and the quicker you ran the faster you got everything done (or you thought you did) are hopefully over.
Given the amount of compelling research we have on how ineffective it is to work and live in such a way, now it’s time to take control. We need to work and live in a more mindful way to preserve our health and prevent premature ageing as well as a scattered brain and everything else that comes from running ourselves down.
It can take a while to truly transition and embrace monotasking as a recovering multitasker. Unless we are present, before we know it we can be back on the multitasking treadmill without a thought with these engrained habits (40% of our day is habits).
When we multitask the evidence shows that we become more distracted. Gloria Marks (Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California) found “about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” That’s an ineffective way to spend our precious time and if that wasn’t enough to sway you, Gloria and her team also found “there is significantly more stress”.
The other fascinating part about multitasking is we often don’t get to feel success and our emotional centre never gets to register that feeling of reward, as we don’t really complete tasks and maybe not all that well.
Here is one for you to try, put your phone in your boot, turn the radio off and just drive to work or wherever you are journeying to. Experiment with how that feels and when you complete the drive how that felt.
To access greater feelings of happiness and productivity, monotasking is going to be a sure fire pathway to take you on your way, one thing at a time.
Top tips to start your monotasking mode:
— Turn off your email alert
— Chunk your emails to a morning and afternoon time
— Turn your phone on silent when you’re on a complex project
— Cluster your meeting times together
— At home, resist the urge to do something when your partner / child / housemate is talking to you, ask yourself “what is more important right now?” Normally it’s just mundane tasks.
Its time to resist the urge to multitask, prioritise your to do list and let go of the distractions so you can focus on what is essential.