Why Multitasking Is A Productivity Illusion

4 min read

Education & Career Trends: January 27, 2023

Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

Taking on a variety of responsibilities may initially make you feel super-useful but over time it could make you feel exhausted and burnt out.

The “talent” of managing several tasks at once has frequently come under investigation. In our supersonic lives, we all try to perform various tasks at once in the hopes of being more productive, efficient and producing more outcomes in less time.
But the fundamental reality is that we can’t zero in successfully on more than one task at a time.
Furthermore, numerous research looking into this phenomenon have all come to the same conclusion: multitasking to a great degree doesn’t necessarily translate into high efficiency!

Switching between tasks is not that simple either. At the very least, your mind requires half a minute to adjust to the new stimulus and start processing the information. Rapid switching can cause your brain to get overburdened and decrease focus.
The more you attempt to multitask, the more your productivity suffers.

The tension that comes with juggling numerous duties is another danger. Taking on a variety of responsibilities may temporarily make you feel “buzzed” and super-useful. In any case, over time it could make you feel exhausted and burnt out.

How to cut back on Multitasking?

1. Schedule your tasks

  • Establish set periods for “multitasking traps” including making calls, responding to emails, and conducting research. 
  • To help you remember what to accomplish and when include these things on a list along with the time you’ve allotted for them.

2. Reduce distractions and interruptions

  • Keep a record of what distracts you the most. 
  • Assess the urgency of interruptions and if they can be pushed back. 
  • To lessen the temptation to constantly check your emails and messages, disable any needless alerts and notifications.

3. Note down your plan for avoidable interruptions

  • Before you switch, pause and write down where you are leaving your present task and the ideas you have for proceeding.
  • Now when you will back return back to what you were doing, these notes will act as cues to help you swiftly resume your task.
  • By doing it this, you’ll be able to perform both duties effectively.

4. Be mindful

  • If your thoughts start to stray when you should be concentrating on something, mindfulness will help gently bring them back to the current work at hand.
  • For instance, if you are preparing for a presentation while attending an important class, remind yourself, “Let’s concentrate on what I’m learning in this class while I’m here.”
  • Being present ‘in the moment’ may aid in keeping you grounded and focused.

5. Take a break

  • Spend a few minutes in silence, doing nothing at your desk.
  • Such little breaks can also help you refocus your thoughts and increase your ability to concentrate.
  • However, schedule “actual” breaks as well.
  • For instance, leave your desk for lunch.
  • Your productivity and stress levels may benefit from this.

6. Concentrate one task at a time

  • Perform routine tasks in a way that demands your complete attention.
  • Making handwritten notes during a meeting, for instance, can help you concentrate on what is being said.
  • Once under control, you will be able to use your newfound ability to concentrate throughout all of your activities.

7. Break down bigger tasks

  • Breaking down bigger tasks at hand into manageable sub-goals can help make the task more tangible.
  • If multitasking is your habit, this may help trick the brain into thinking that you are multitasking when in reality you are tackling just one task.
  • Prioritise the parts and arrange them in a hierarchy, this way you will be able to track your progress and get through each quicker.

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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