We’re all guilty of it. We live in a world where multitasking has become the standard. The constant stream of information is difficult to escape.
We have push notifications on our phones. News tickers scroll at the bottom of many television news programs. Advertisements bombard our awareness at every turn. It is difficult to keep our focus on one thing at a time.
Is multitasking really making us more productive?
Is dividing our attention really allowing us to accomplish more?
For me personally, I’ve noticed it is not.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. There are moments where I’m kind of working on an email while I’m kind of talking with a colleague and I’m also kind of listening in on a conference call. More often than not, this division of my focus means that I’m missing a lot. Typically this kind of multitasking leaves me feeling very disjointed. And undoubtedly after all three activities are finished I have to go back and clean up mistakes I’ve made or ask for clarification on what someone said.
Tacking on this extra clean-up time is far from efficient. Asking others to repeat themselves isn’t only affecting my time management – it’s invading theirs. And there is a good chance that a third of my attention didn’t achieve what I would like in any of the activities.
What I’ve found is that when I pick one activity at a time and hyper-focus, I’m more productive. If I give the task in front of me 100 percent of my attention, it is accomplished more quickly and thoroughly. Little to any clean-up time is required once the task is finished, and I rarely feel that I’ve missed an important piece of a conversation.
I know that cutting out multitasking altogether can seem like a big change. So what if instead of going cold turkey, you pick one or two activities each day over the next five days and try to hyper-focus?
Observe how this small change impacts your productivity. I bet you’ll even notice that the tasks you complete are more successful and that you feel more confident about your accomplishments.
What tasks might you hyper-focus on this week?