Multitasking undermines productivity

img_20161030_162412128_hdr I multitask way too often.

I check emails while I am on the phone with customer service, I cook dinner while I watch my online class modules, and I eat while I work.

That's the short list.

I know that multitasking is praised by employers and boasted about in interviews, but in reality it is leeching at our effectiveness.

I believe that there are two types of multitasking...

Doing multiple things at once

&

Having multiple things to do 

 

Having multiple things to do is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a really powerful muscle to exercise.

With this type of multitasking, you have to be deliberate with your schedule. You have to run logistics, sequences, and prioritize. We are all like little CEOs of our own lives.

 

Doing multiple things at once is the problematic type of multitasking.

Why?

Because in the end, it leeches at your effectiveness and stops you from being in the present moment.

When you aren't fully focusing on what you are up to right now your mental energy is being divided into however many places you decide to send it.

 

This leads to issues.

#1: Overwhelm:

Always feeling like there is SO MUCH TO DO. When I get overwhelmed, I'm not the type of person that I like to be (closed-off, moody, and exhausted). Like a horse with blinders on. And then we miss out on what is going on around us. Ew.

#2: Overeating:

When I am eating and doing another task, I eat too quickly, too much, and don't chew enough. Recipe for disaster.

It's because our bodies and brains are torn in too many directions and don't get to register that we just nourished ourselves.

Punishing yourself for a meal gone awry or 2 pieces of chocolate that turned into 10 leeches at your effectiveness.

And our body has to process all of that additional stuff that it didn't need. Double whammy.

#3: Overdrive:

My computer is slow. Why? Because I have about 3 windows with 10 tabs each of stuff that I need to "remember to do". The way that you utilize your web browser is the way that your brain works... Think about it :)

 

Does this sound like something that you deal with?

When I figured out that multitasking was a huge source of most of the biggest unresolved issues in my life, it felt like A-HA!

Now time to practice...

Easier said than done.

But you can start practicing.

I am still on this journey and here are some of my daily practices in an effort to eliminate doing multiple things at once and to make space for the multiple things that I have to do.

#1: Meditate

Meditation is time for yourself (5, 10, 15+ minutes) to sit down, close your eyes, breathe, and have one single point of focus. During meditation your mind will wander and you practice gently bringing your thoughts back to your breath, an object, or physical awareness.

Flex your single pointed focus muscle with Headspace or Calm. Both are amazing guided meditation apps that I can personally vouch for.

 

#2: Set aside time for eating

This has to be the hardest thing for me. I don't want to stop what I am doing to eat... And often times between the hrs of 9-5 I don't want to be doing what I am doing, so I would prefer to eat.

It's just viscous. How can I win?

By deciding when to work and when to eat and keeping them separate.

#3: Use your calendar

We live in a busy busy world and we all have too much on our mind.

We are writing our to-do lists in our heads and then on top of that trying to remember the to-do list. When you are trying to execute a to-do list and remember it, get ready for overdrive.

Whip out your calendar (google, apple, book). Get it off your brain and onto paper and say ahhhh.

 

These 3 daily practices will, overtime, yield results.

The reward is in the consistent practice. When you truly see how doing multiple things at once is affecting your stress, relationships, physical body, emotional state, and effectiveness of electronic devices you will make time.