The Multitasking Myth & 7 Tips To Help You Focus

Business woman multitasking

We often think that multitasking is the best way to get more done and deal with the constant demands of our working day. It is probably common to find you responding to emails while on the phone and drinking your morning coffee.  How many documents or tabs have you got open on your computer right now? Email, internet browser, word document, an excel spreadsheet? The reality is however that constantly dividing our attention across multiple activities does not make us more productive.

If you are jumping from one task to the next it may feel like you are busy but it is unlikely that you are truly productive.  To be truly productive we need to focus our attention. Something that is far more challenging in the technology driven workplace of today. Today we are always ‘on’ and constantly connected. We have emails, facebook, twitter, mobile phones and we are continually paying attention in order not to miss anything. 

Research shows that if we try to engage in many activities at once, we perform more slowly and less accurately, resulting in lower levels of productivity. When we are constantly switching tasks, our mind is forced to continuously reorient in order to process the new information. The quality of our work suffers when we force our mind to do this hurriedly and regularly especially between complex tasks. The other effect multitasking has is on our stress levels. You know the frazzled feeling you have when you have too many things on the go at one time and you begin to feel overwhelmed and defeated.

Multitasking isn’t always a conscious action. Often we are dividing our attention between tasks without even been fully aware of it. Do you decrease your productivity by multitasking?

Have a look at your desk. How many files, papers, and lists do you have in front of you? How much of it are you currently working on?

Have a look at your computer. Do you have several internet tabs open? Are you paying your phone bill, reading this blog and tweeting? Do you have your email open all of the time?

We often multitask when we are working on a task we don’t enjoy. How often do you check your email when you are completing a difficult or tedious task?

Do you experience regular interruptions? Regular interruptions cause us to multitask. In an effort to get our work done, we will attempt to continue even when interrupted.

Tips for Mono Tasking

  • Isolate yourself

Try to work without any distractions for a few hours. This means turning off your phone, closing your email and finding a quiet room in order to prevent distractions.

  • Make Meetings Technology Free

Create a rule that there are no mobile phones or tablets in meetings. Without the constant distractions and everyone’s full attention then meetings focused, to the point and as a result shorter. 

  • Chunk Your Time

Plan your day in blocks of time. Focusing on completing one task at a time, or working on similar tasks together. Set specific times for returning calls, answering emails, doing research, attending meetings.

  • Turn off Email Alerts

If you receive an alert when emails come in, turn it off. This will help you avoid the temptation to check your inbox as soon as you get new mail. If you are tempted to check your email when you’re supposed to be working on another task, stop, take a deep breath and resist the urge. Try to focus your attention back to the job at hand.

  • Keep your Desk Clear

Only have on your desk what you are working on right now. This way you can’t be distracted by other tasks and be tempted to move away from what you are doing.

  • Take a Timeout

If you have that frazzled overwhelmed feeling and you find you are multitasking, stop and take a timeout. Take a few minutes to just stop and refocus your mind.

  • Write a List of Tasks

If you are in the habit of stopping what you are doing every time you have a new idea or a new item to action arrives in your inbox, create a list instead and write the task down. Return to your original job and work your way through the list focusing on one task at a time.

How have you managed to curb your multitasking?

Meaghan Marshall is the founder of Meaghan Marshall Career Services. Meaghan is passionate about helping others achieve their career goals and find fulfilment at work. For more tips and career inspiration follow Meaghan on twitter.

Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 350,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog

121 COMMENTS

  1. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is an element that insufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am delighted we came across this during my look for something with this.

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  3. Hey there I am so grateful I found your blog page, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a fantastic post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  4. A lot of the things you claim is supprisingly precise and that makes me ponder why I had not looked at this with this light before. This particular piece truly did switch the light on for me as far as this specific topic goes. Nonetheless at this time there is actually just one factor I am not too comfortable with so while I make an effort to reconcile that with the actual main idea of your position, let me observe just what the rest of your visitors have to point out.Well done.

  5. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

  6. Hi,
    I really appreciate this post. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. All the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.Thanks for sharing…

  7. I am extremely impressed along with your writing skills and also with the format in your blog. Is that this a paid theme or did you customize it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s rare to look a nice blog like this one today..

  8. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

  9. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog visitors have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this issue?

  10. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  11. Hi there very nice blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m glad to seek out numerous useful info here in the submit, we’d like work out extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  12. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is an element that insufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am delighted we came across this during my look for something with this.

  13. I was very happy to seek out this web-site.I wanted to thanks to your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely having fun with each little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you blog post.

  14. This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  15. hello there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this web site, since I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content. Make sure you update this again soon..

  16. Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  17. Usually I do not read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice article.

  18. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is an element that insufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am delighted we came across this during my look for something with this.

  19. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is an element that insufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am delighted we came across this during my look for something with this.

  20. I just like the helpful info you provide on your short articles.I will certainly bookmark your blog site and take a look at once even more right here on a regular basis.I’m instead sure I’ll learn great deals of brand-new stuff right below!

  21. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is an element that insufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am delighted we came across this during my look for something with this.

  22. Hi,
    I just want to say that i like this blog/article. I honestly appreciate people like you! It was really informative. I definitely delighting in every bit of it I have you bookmarked to look into new stuff you post.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here