Everyone multitasks. It’s something we do without much thought. That thoughtlessness is why multitasking is actually a productivity killer. Check out this infographic that details the truth about multitasking, how it’s actually destroying productivity, and what you can do to get back on track. There really are some great alternatives to multitasking that are actually pretty easy to implement and keep you focused.
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Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work
- Think you’re doing two things at once? Think again. Multitasking is just switching back and forth between several things, leading to reduced rates of productivity.
- The human brain is terrible at multitasking, and forcing it to do so can lead to high levels of stress and even memory loss.
- In multitasking tests, a person’s cognitive abilities drop from that of a Harvard graduate to those of an elementary school student when forced to perform two tasks at once.
Negative Impacts of Multitasking
- We are 40% less productive than when just tackling one task at a time.
- Multitasking has a negative effect on a worker’s performance, often resulting in projects taking much longer than they should.
- Learning is impaired by multitasking, making it more difficult for people to retain what they are learning when they are trying to do two things at once.
- 69% admitted to feeling distracted by technology while at work.
Alternatives to Multitasking
- Single-tasking, or focusing on one goal at a time, is more efficient and more effective than multitasking
- Tempted to multitask? Take a breather. Mindfulness meditation can bring you back into the present and refocus your attention to the task at hand.
- Set boundaries. Go on a phone “fast” while you work so you’re not tempted to respond to incoming texts and emails.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique, focus on one task for 20 minute increments, broken up with five minute breaks
- Use a virtual receptionist to screen your calls, take messages, schedule appointments, and provide customer service to minimize distractions.