We live in a fast paced society and many of us feel like we have to multitask in order to keep up with the flow. While we may feel as if this is a good use of our time, science is proving otherwise. It turns out that only 2% of us multitask effectively – this means that the remaining 98% of us are compromising our productivity in the name of multitasking.
The most common form of multitasking is when we try to do more than one thing at a time – typically while using a Smartphone, tablet or laptop. Checking our emails while we’re on a conference call or updating our Facebook status while we’re out with friends may feel like we’re accomplishing something – but research is starting to show that we probably aren’t. One study showed that our brains simply aren’t very good at doing more than one thing at once and that instead we get overwhelmed and stressed.
So, what can we do instead?
Focusing on one thing at a time may actually boost your productivity, as you’ll be working more mindfully. Take a look at the following tips for a more efficient attitude towards productivity:
Put down the phone – Whether you’re working or seeing friends, do yourself a favour and put your phone away and anything else that is likely to distract you.
Get into a routine – Setting yourself up with a schedule will help you stay focussed and ensure that you only work on one thing at a time.
Set goals – Working without goals often invites distraction. Having a to-do list with both short-term and long-term goals will help to keep you in check.
Meditate – Research suggests that meditating regularly can actually boost brain function and keep you focused. It can also help to reduce stress, which can help when that deadline approaches.
Listen well – When you’re half listening to your colleague while checking the morning’s emails, not only are you being rude, you are also not taking either task in properly. Look away from your screen and actively listen before turning your attention to something else.
Reduce clutter – Having an organised workspace will help to eliminate distractions and help you find what you need when you need it. Be sure to keep this in mind when organising computer files too – a tidy desktop equals a tidy mind.
Take a break – While we encourage focused work on one task at a time, there will be times when you’ll need a break. When you find your productivity or energy waning, take a quick break – eat something nutritious and go for a walk outside to clear your head.
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