Are you the type of person that’s constantly doing more than one thing? Do you regularly eat while you’re working? Do you check your emails, social media notifications, and look at news in the morning while you’re getting ready for the day? You’re not alone, most of us multitask, and many of us think we’re pretty good at it, but most of us have no idea what multitasking is doing to us.
Even if you consider yourself a great multitasker, it could still be taking a toll on you. When we multitask we’re technically not multitasking at all… our minds cannot focus on two things at once, instead our brains are constantly switching back and forth between the two tasks at hand. Each time our brain is forced to switch back and forth it uses up energy and drains us of energy!
By attempting to focus on two things at once we’re using up more energy and becoming more tired than if we were to give 100% of our attention to one task at a time.
If you’re always multitasking at work, for example, you probably come home completely exhausted every day. But when we have so much we need to accomplish it can be hard to mindfully focus on completing just one thing at a time—we unconsciously begin to multitask.
How can we complete everything we need to without tiring ourselves out?
Instead of multitasking, try a few of these ideas to keep your mind on track and your energy level up:
Take 15-Minute Breaks
Take a quick 15-minute break every couple of hours. You may feel like you’re being lazy or wasting time, but short work breaks can benefit your productivity by keeping you focused, helping you retain information, and even problem solve! You have to learn to take breaks the right way though—scrolling through Facebook is not a break! Go on a walk, listen to music, gaze out a window… simply let your mind wander free.
Turn off Non-Urgent Notifications
You may need to have notifications for work emails turned on, but turn off any other non-urgent notifications such as social media and text messages. These type of notifications are unimportant interruptions and it can take people 20 minutes to fully bounce-back from interruptions and regain focus.
Dedicate Your Time
Instead of constantly checking your social media notifications and emails, set aside a dedicated time, once in the morning, mid-day, and evening, to check everything.
Don’t Spend too Much Time on 1 Task
If you have a big project you need to complete, try breaking it down into 30-minute to 2-hour periods. When we work on one task for too long our attention starts to wander, we become prone to distractions, and end up wasting time.
If you have trouble focusing try using an app such as Focus@Will to keep you on track qwith your dailt to-dolist.
Figure Out What’s Worth Your Time
The best way to cut down on multitasking is to not take on too much. Decide what’s worthy of your time and what you don’t really need to do. Stop saying “yes” to everything, try writing an attention charter to help you minfully decide what’s worth your time.