Being an “excellent multitaker” is a popular claim people like to make. Many people boast at their ability to do many things at once, saying it makes them more efficient and productive. While that claim sounds great on paper, the reality is multitasking is a bad thing. Here’s why.
People that claim to be excellent multitaskers are actually just good at switching from one task to another. You may think this is a good thing, but this actually makes you less efficient. By switching tasks, you’re productivity actually goes down because instead of focusing on one thing, you’re losing time by shifting to many other things. By multitasking, you’ll have many unfinished tasks to complete at the end of the day, when you could have gotten one or 2 tasks completed if you put all of your focus towards them instead of everything else.
It makes sense right?
How to stop
While it may be impossible to not multitask sometimes, there are a lot of habits you can break that will help you focus on one thing at a time.
1. Do one thing at a time
This seems obvious, right, but how many times have you checked email while on the phone, taken a call while driving, or done something else while you were supposed to be working on an important task? Focus on the task at hand and you’ll not only find yourself getting much more done, but you’re clients, coworkers and prospects will appreciate the undivided attention.
2. Write out your to-do list
This may be an old practice, but physically writing out and seeing the tasks you need to accomplish can actually help you get them done. Take it one step further by breaking bigger tasks (ones that can’t be completed in one day) into smaller tasks that will lead up to finishing the big one.
3. Schedule your time
Set aside an estimated amount of time to complete certain tasks and schedule your day accordingly. You’ll more than likely find that by focusing on one task, you’ll get things done much faster.
4. Be flexible
In order to be less of a multitasker, it’s important to realize there are going to be times where multitasking will happen. Know that interruptions, problems and emergencies that will cause you to focus on something else will happen. Some days, it may be necessary to abandon your schedule. Nobody is perfect, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything accomplished that you had on your to-do list.
While many think multitasking is a good quality, it can actually hurt your productivity and should be discouraged. Stick to doing one thing at a time and you’ll find yourself getting much more done!