“The power of multitasking is a myth. Human beings are, essentially, single-core processors. We can’t effectively check our email, listen to someone asking us for feedback on a project, and take notes simultaneously. We can do it, sure, but everything suffers.”
So good, right? And so true! I wanted to start this post off a little differently (with a quote) because it was one of those quotes that really struck a chord with me while reading it. I found it while reading an article on personal growth and how multitasking is hugely overrated – and nearly impossible. It was one of those articles that I read and nodded along the whole time. Sadly, I took a screen shot of the quote and didn’t bookmark the article to share it with you.
It makes so much sense to me, personally. I’m constantly multi-tasking. Actually, whatever is MORE than multi-tasking, that’s my usual speed.
I’m so easily distracted and to be honest, I always thought that was a fault of my own. Why can’t you focus on one thing at a time? Well, part of it is because I’m naturally super distracted, but another huge part is due to the society we live in. We’re taught that multi-tasking is this magical skill. It’s something we put on resumes to show our worth or brag about. Heck, I’m pretty sure I’ve even talked about how to get more done at once on this very blog! And gosh, I’m sorry everyone – because it’s actually not what we should be focusing on at all.
Studies believe that multi-tasking divides our attention, interrupts the brain, and essentially, hurts our physical and mental health. Yikes.
So what are we supposed to do? Single-task.
Ahhh, it’s almost scary for me to think about single-tasking because I know I’m horrible at it. But also, it sounds amazing at the same time. Think about it – not having your brain be responsible for several things at once. Consuming only one thing at a time. Focusing on only one person at a time. Doesn’t it sound kind of fabulous?!
I won’t lie and say I’ve started single-tasking yet. This is actually one of those posts that I could not wait to share with you, and I just started thinking about all this week. So, instead of sharing what I’ve been doing that’s been working for me, I want to share some ideas I had on how I can do this. I’ve been taking inventory of all the times in my day where I naturally multi-task and have been scribbling things down.
Here are ways I want to start single-tasking + some extra ideas for your life!
- When on the phone, be fully present, instead of trying to write a blog post while checking Pinterest and Instagram.
- Check my personal and blog emails 2 times a day, that’s it. Don’t have my tabs open 24/7 and especially while I’m at my 9-5. Gosh, this is going to be so difficult for me. But I think it’ll help if I turn my notifications off on my phone. That way, I won’t be reminded all day long.
- Leave all distractions in my purse when out or have company over.
- Listen to people, instead of thinking of my to-do list.
- Brush my teeth. That’s it. No running around the house picking things up or trying to get dressed at the same time. Brush my teeth at the sink.
- Drive without fussing with the music and changing the song every two seconds. Or let’s be realistic (because I love listening to podcasts), but I’m going to spend at least the first 15 minutes of my drive home from work without any sort of audio. That, I can wrap my head around.
- Make my tea. Change out of my pajamas. THEN check my emails. Not all three at once.
- Put my phone down when I’m getting my nails done. There is no reason I cannot sit and have 45 minutes to myself.
- Stand in line without checking my phone or looking for a distraction. Just wait. Same story when I’m waiting for food in the microwave or whatever.
- Don’t do my makeup while driving. Just stop. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and do it in peace…in the bathroom.
- Cook dinner without doing anything else. Well, except maybe checking DMs because how else am I going to get all those in?! lol.
I’ve noticed that a lot of my personal multi-tasking moments come around tech, which is kind of obvious but also interesting. It’s like technology has not only shortened my attention span but resulted in my desire to multi-task and stay BUSY at all times.
I’m excited to see how I do with single-tasking though, and to break that habit! I know it’ll be hard at first, but I think it’ll be incredibly refreshing to move slower with more focus.
Now, I would LOVE to hear ONE way you can single task in your own life?
Go through your day and notice moments where you’re doing 5 things at once. Take note of them and see if you can start single-tasking with half of those moments.
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