Multitasking fails us, big time. It decreases our productivity, lowers our IQs, and shrinks our brains, according to acclaimed researchers and neuroscientists around the world.
The solution? A simple yet revolutionary concept: singletasking.
Multitasking is Out
We are a stressed-out culture of multitaskers. With too much to do in too little time, we fruitlessly attempt to accomplish more by doing several things at once. Here’s a good NPR story about how multitasking is doing us wrong.
What would happen if we tried something different?
The Alternative to Multitasking
Devora Zack, CEO of Only Connect Consulting, Inc., has a book called, “Singletasking: Get More Done — One Thing at a Time” (Berrett-Koehler). In it, Zack stresses that to be more productive and present… and to reclaim your life, regain control and remember what really matters, you need to cut out the multitasking. Here are practical, actionable tips, you can
Zack was kind enough to share five of her tips with me. Here are some practical, actionable tips, you can use to singletask your way to success and sanity:
1. Realize that multitasking is impossible — Your brain is not hardwired to multitask. What you’re really doing is rapidly and ineffectively switching between tasks, or what neuroscientists call task-switching.
2. Commit to your choices — Singletasking obliges you to do one thing at a time. This means you must stand firm and genuinely commit to your current choice.
3. Park extraneous thoughts — By singletasking, you’re equipped to set distracting thoughts aside until you can redirect your mind. One technique is to “park” other ideas in a designated place, such as a notes page on your smartphone, and then quickly return to the current endeavor.
4. Practice clustertasking — Bunch similar tasks into segments, such as clustering your reading and replying to emails into arrival, lunch, and departure times.
5. Grow your attention span — The average human attention span is eight seconds, one second less than a goldfish. Singletasking provides simple tools and techniques to measurably improve your focus.
Using these five tips, you can become more productive while saving your sanity at work. Try them out and tell us how they worked for you in the comments, Facebook or Twitter.