A man who chases two rabbits catches none. – A
Multi tasking or single tasking had been a topic of considerable
interest to me of late but concluded that the later beats hands down in any
given situation. I felt that the people
who attempt many chores at a time are not being more productive.
I think we’ll
all feel – and do – much better if we live “in
the moment,” and focus on the important thing rather than trying to do many
things at the same time.
author of the new book “Single tasking:
Get More Done – One Thing at a Time”, says multitasking is a myth.
“The brain cannot be in two places at once, so what people are referencing as
multitasking is actually what neuroscientists call task switching and that
means rapidly moving back and forth between different tasks,” says Zack.
Gary Keller –also opines “The ONE Thing delivers
extraordinary results in every area of your life—work, personal, family, and
By focusing one task
at a time builds momentum towards your goal, lowers down your stress level. It
creates a rippling effect and enables you to master what matters the most to
you. And, you get the task done in half
the amount of time you would if you were multi-tasking. In fact, while those
who do multi-task think they’re getting lots done, the reality is that they
actually get less done than those who do one thing at a time. The reason for this phenomenon is that those
who multi-task are found to have trouble organizing thoughts and zeroing in on
solutions to a task or problem.
Many a times, I have
seen people multi tasking and wonder why they do it. May be because, it gives them an emotional boost and a
positive feeling. But the fact remains that once you multi task over a period
of time it culminates into a habit or a behavioral pattern and lowers your
efficiency. It slows your performance because your brain was created to focus
on one thing at a time and does much better when you do. Researchers also say, that our brain is not
meant for multi-tasking. It actually splits the brain, creating something
called 'spotlights'. So if you are having lunch while watching the news and
trying to send an e-mail at the same time, your brain trying to frantically
switch between eating, writing e-mails and answering chats. It jumps back and
forth as you focus on each task for a few seconds at a time.
switching, says Zack, not only lowers productivity by 40 percent but it
also shrinks our brains. “When you overload your brain trying to get it to task
switch, you shrink the grey matter in your brain,”
do we switch to single tasking mode?
An adage says “Old habits die hard” but we may break
the multi tasking behavior pattern by:
Switching your brain to passive
mode You will be more productive if, several times a day; you
step away from mentally challenging tasks for few minutes. Get some fresh air,
for example, or just look out the window. Taking a break will help make room
for your next inspired idea because a halt in constant thinking slows the
mind’s rhythms to allow more innovative “aha” moments.
Focusing deeply Silence
your phone, turn off your email and try to perform just one task at a time.
Think it’s impossible to break away? Start with 15-minute intervals and work
your way up to longer time periods. Giving your full attention to the task at
hand will increase accuracy, innovation and speed.
Making a to-do list
- Identify your top two priorities for the day and make sure they are
accomplished above all else. Giving the most important tasks your brain’s prime
time will make you feel more productive. Or, as Boone Pickens said, “When you
are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.”
if you believe in multi tasking and want to switch to single-tasking, try out
the above tips to stay more productive, happy and stress free.