Multitasking is a lie
Ok, all you multitasking maniacs out there…I’m sure you’re ready to click away and check your email, post your Instagram, eat your lunch, and instant message your BFF. And if you already have…well…that just proves the point. Does that description sound like you? If so, it means you might be one of those who doesn’t yet realize how multitasking is a lie.
It’s impossible to literally “multitask”. A woman can’t keep her eyes on the road and apply eyeliner at the same time. One task or the other is going to suffer. A man can’t mow the lawn and watch the big game at the same time. (so ladies…please let him mow the lawn before or after the game…your lawn will thank you)
The point is…when it comes to real, positive, productive work getting done…you gotta be linear. Keep your goals clearly in focus and in line. Why would you risk your health and sanity attempting to do what one person cannot safely do?
You’re paying much more for the multitasking lie than you might realize.
That’s right, this isn’t simply a matter of productivity we’re talking about. Your mental, emotional, and even physical health are in danger when you don’t focus on one task at a time. A Stanford University study said multitaskers are “suckers for irrelevancy”. Ouch. That sounds harsh, on the surface, but researchers weren’t making mere visual observations. They ran tests on 100 students who thought they could do multiple things at once and found that “everything distracts them”. And that is…Bad For The Brain
Your brain can only focus on one task at a time. That’s because it just can’t complete two tasks at once. When you try to force it to do what it can’t do, you can actually cause damage. How about this? If you saw evidence that multitasking lowers your IQ by as much as 15 points, would you stop trying to multitask? And if you saw other evidence that shows how multitasking reduces your cognitive abilities and your brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex region, would you stop? Ok. If you can’t do it for yourself, can you do it for “them”?
Have you heard of emotional intelligence?
Yes, also known as your EQ, it’s a real thing. It’s related directly to your ability to engage in social settings, meetings, and other interact environments. If you multitask during those times, it shows either low self-awareness or low social awareness. TalentSmart is an online assessment company that provides individuals and companies with emotional intelligence evaluations. They say 90% of the top performers have high EQ scores. But multitaskers don’t score well.
This is not to say you can’t do more than one thing at a time. It IS to say you can’t accomplish more than one objective at a time. For example…
If your sales manager tells you to get 25 calls completed by lunch, you won’t be effective talking to potential clients on the company phone while chatting with your friends on your cell phone. You might even lose your job.
Here’s a sports analogy…
A runner wins the race by putting one foot in front of the other…faster than the other runners…but both feet don’t move forward at the same time. And the runner thinks about the finish line…the goal…and gets a mental picture of standing there as the winner. The runner who concentrates on anything but the race is almost inevitably not the winner. You can see plenty of videos, on YouTube, where runners lose the race they should have won because they started celebrating with the crowd before the race was over. That’s called taking your eyes off the prize.
More studies are coming out showing how ineffective it is for you to try to switch back and forth between projects or tasks. It actually costs time. It doesn’t save any. And there’s increasing evidence this switching habit could be a major cause in memory issues. It makes sense when you think about it. The more things you have going on at once, the more things you have to account for…and the more taxing on your brain functions. The more taxed your brain is, the less productive it is.
So, what can you do to get out of this multitasking downward spiral?
Try these tips:
- Plan your day – organize must-do and must-get-done items as top priority
- Decrease distractions – avoid emails, message apps, etc. until must-do’s are done
- Take a break – anytime you feel the urge to merge multiple tasks
It’s important to understand you can’t get quality work done for someone when you’re working on their project AND someone else’s. Look at the word this way: someONE
When you prioritize and work from the top down, and when you begin to see each of the tasks get done, you might be surprised and relieved to notice how your brain stays much clearer. You might also begin to notice how much getting one thing completed pumps you up to tackle the next…and the next. And you might enjoy how much less stress you experience. By many accounts, stress is becoming one of the major concerns related to poor health.
You’re not a bad person for not knowing how multitasking is a lie.
But you may be doing bad things to yourself and those around you. Keep in mind you have the same twenty-four hours in your day that everyone else has. And your twenty-four hours are just as important as anyone else’s. So, make it a goal to maintain a healthier balance in your day. Your brain will thank you. Ad your body and emotions will thank you. Even your customers, clients, and co-workers will thank you.
Remember this: a laser beam focuses on one area and cuts through thick steel…while a shotgun spreads out and only makes dents in that same steel.
Don’t just make dents…cut on through…Focus. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t trade your brainpower for inefficiency because now you know…multitasking is a lie.
You CAN not do it…I’m pulling for you,
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