John – You know David, you should start doing multitasking. It is very productive.
David – is it? Can you please explain me how?
John – Sure, why not. For, e.g., I can eat food and drink water at the same time which saves my time.
David – So, you can eat your food and take a sip of water at the same second
John – hmm no actually. I take one bite of food and then one sip of water.
David – Then how on earth you did multitasking? You are doing one thing at a time, but with divided focus.
John – hmmm ? ? ? ?
David – plus don’t you know that drinking water during meals is harmful
John – I think you are right.
This is what happens when we try to do multitasking. We actually think that we are doing more productive work, but we are just doing one thing at a time and we shift our focus from one task to another. In today’s competitive world everyone wants to be ahead in the race and for that we are ready to do anything to become more productive than others. This has resulted in giving more importance to false ideas like multitasking. The truth is that we become less productive when we try to do many tasks at the same time.
Let’s look at this scenario which might be happening in your daily corporate life. You are working on a financial report of your company and your colleague tells you to review his report. Now you have two tasks to complete. You start working on your report and in between you review your colleague’s work. You keep on shifting from one task to another. In theory, you are working on two tasks by doing multitasking, but if you observe, then you will realize that you are just working on one task at a time.
We are in a culture where many people believe that more you do simultaneously more intelligent and expert you are. Multi tasking is not just less productive, but it can be harmful also. This mostly happens when we perform any task with half focus. We are in so much hurry to finish the task that we neglect the quality of it. Like in the above example we might miss out some points while reviewing colleague’s task as we are also working on the financial report. This might also affect your goodwill as a reviewer.
Single tasking means doing one thing at a time with complete focus. Giving justice to one thing that is in your hand at the current moment. Scientifically it is proven that when you do anything with full concentration you are more productive and give better results. We become more efficient and can also get creative solutions. Let us look at some ways in which you can stop yourself from getting into multitasking.
Realization – The first step is always the awareness in anything you do. You need to understand that multitasking is not doing any good to you. Many times only awareness can bring biggest changes in our life.
Prioritize – You will always be bombarded with many projects and tasks. You need to prioritize them as per the requirements. If you think that some tasks are not important at the moment, then just simply say no and tell your colleague that you will do it after you finish your current task.
Explain to others – Sometimes just prioritizing your tasks will not be suffice. You will have to explain to others that you are busy with something and would like to focus on one thing at a time. I am sure they will understand as they would be happy when you will do their task also with complete focus.
Benefits of doing one task at a time
You are focused – You are doing only one thing at a time and that allows your all senses to just focus on point. When we are focused, we are more productive. Our mind generates better ideas. Can you imagine if Edison working on inventing electricity with any other of his inventions. I don’t think so.
Less stress- As you don’t have to jump from one task to another, you get less stress. You know that you will only take another task once you complete what is in your hand currently. You are just engrossed in what you are doing and you don’t worry about anything else at that moment.
You enjoy – This is the best part of doing single tasking. When you are completely into something, you start enjoying it. You savor the moment and you are in the flow.
We are not doing multitasking only in work, but this phenomenon also affects our personal life. Like we are checking our emails on smart phone while talking to our spouse or we watch TV while eating food. Our mind is created to do only one task at a time and we should respect that. New age mantra is happy single tasking.