Why You Need to Stop Multitasking (and What to Do Instead)
In today’s society, doing just one thing at a time seems luxurious. We all send emails during meetings, texting while walking, chatting while eating. Multitasking has become the norm but chances are, it isn’t doing any good for you and can be even harmful to our health.
The truth is our brain isn’t equipped for multitasking – our short-term memory can store only five-nine things at once. When we try to accomplish several different tasks that require our attention and consideration, our brain can’t encode them fully in short-term memory and then move into long-term memory to recall later. And if we can’t recall information, we can’t use it.
Instead of actually helping you, multitasking works against you.
What can you do to change this vicious cycle? Single-tasking can be the answer. Here are five simple rules to follow to eliminate unnecessary distractions and feel more productive.
#1. Open only one browser tab
You may open multiple tabs to work on something. But if they have nothing to do with your current task, close or bookmark them for later.
#2. Remember what you try to accomplish
Whatever you’re doing, try to pause and make sure you’re engaged in the activity that helps accomplish your goal.
#3. Give your full attention
Unless there’s an urgent interruption, if you have started doing something, invest your time and give your full attention until the task is complete.
#4. Mind interruptions and switching
There is no need to be a control freak – it’s okay to be interrupted. And whenever you fill you need to switch, do it consciously and give your full attention to whoever/whatever is calling.
#5. Give yourself a break
Remember to include digital-free time in your schedule. No distractions, no checking – close all things for a while and go for a walk or read a book. Giving yourself a break will restore your inner resources and help you be more disciplined and productive.