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Amira McLaughlin

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People everywhere seem to be in a rush. We all have a lot to do, yet the same 24 hours each day to get it done. Chances are you’ve tried multitasking to get more accomplished. This might seem like a good plan, but it’s not always as effective as you might expect it to be. The truth is, multitasking is terrible for your productivity. Your brain isn’t built to process activities in such a way. You’ll get more done, feel more mindful and calm when you focus on just one thing at once. Staying on task and being efficient is especially crucial on the job. Keep reading to discover why you’ll experience less stress at work by focusing on one project at a time. 

About Single-Tasking

Single-tasking is the opposite of multitasking. It involves focusing on just one activity and seeing it through until completion before starting something else. Allowing your brain to work through only one thing at a time leads to faster and more efficient processing. That’s how it is you accomplish more when single-tasking than when trying to double up on your duties. Your mind functions better when it isn’t overtaxed. While it is possible to do more than one thing at a time, it’s best when each activity is a relatively simple one that doesn’t require a great deal of cognitive effort. Things that come naturally to you or that can seemingly be performed on autopilot are fine. However, combining tasks that require significant thought or a lot of brainpower will likely lead to problems. 

Benefits of Doing One Thing at a Time

Single-tasking eliminates the need for your brain to switch gears constantly, making the performance more efficient. When your brain can work more optimally, you’ll get more done. You’re also less likely to make careless errors, improving your end performance or product. Once you become accustomed to single-tasking, you’ll soon notice you feel freer and more in control of your time. You won’t feel the need to check in with social media every hour or open your email with each alert you hear. You’ll no longer feel beholden to the pressure to be on alert all the time or to get as much done in as little time as possible. You won’t feel nearly as stressed once you learn to give up multitasking. Plus, you’ll be able to concentrate better for more extended periods once you train your brain. 

How to Get Started

Start by prioritizing your tasks. Choose the most important and get started. Eliminate background distractions by closing excess computer tabs or turning off social media and email notifications. When you’ve finished, you can then move onto another project. If you need some reinforcement, there are productivity apps that can restrict tempting sites like Facebook or Instagram for increments of time, forcing you to pay attention to your work. Practice seeing things through. For example, finish reading an entire article before getting up to talk to a co-worker about an upcoming deadline. Finally, be sure you have a comfortable workspace with everything you need close at hand. This will eliminate the temptation to take multiple trips to the kitchen for snacks or sneak out to stretch your legs. 

Learning to give up multitasking will take practice. I assure you it’s worth it. You’ll get more done and make fewer errors. The bonus is that you’ll also feel much calmer.

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