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Multi-Tasking Is a Lie

So, I have a confession to make, I use to lie all the time, especially to myself. Yup, I told myself I could get it all done and do it most of it multitasking. And I LIED! As I was launching my entrepreneurial career, I was a mom of three little ones, a military spouse who was often parenting alone due to my husband's deployments. So, I would work, take kids to school, activities, go to networking events (yes back when the world was always open), cook, clean while doing other things. And frankly I was pooped, not completing things and everything felt chaotic. The truth is the human brain is simply not designed for multitasking. So when we try to do two or more things simultaneously, our brain can't handle it. As a result, we end up doing a poorer job at all of the tasks than we would if we had just focused on one thing at a time.

In fact, neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks at the same time or multitask. Therefore, you can’t cook dinner, talk on the phone with a customer and text. Our brain is not wired that way. Instead, our brain's task switches quickly from item to item.

For example, each time we move from cooking to talking to someone, or texting the brain uses a stop/start process. The brain signals to start something new every time we do this. Usually, when we do this repetitively, (i.e. every evening when I was trying to manage kids, work commitments and home responsibilities) we miss something. We burn the food, forget read the email or miss our exit while driving.

This start-stop-start process is rough on our brain and can lead to fatigue, burnout and overwhelm.

This is where single-tasking or monotasking comes into play. Single-tasking is all about dedicating oneself to a task and minimizing distractions until that task is completed. Wehn we do one task at a time. We are more productive, less stressed and more satisfied with our lives. Knowing that we are moving forward (even in small ways) makes more mindful of what we are doing and present with those we are doing it with.

So what steps can you take in order to focus on a single task?

Steps to Success

  1. Remove distractions. Put your phone down before starting a task (conversation, dinner etc

  2. Prioritize your tasks and projects. Before bed each night visualize your day a head and prioritize your tasks, starting with yourself first. Perhaps asking, what do I need to do for myself to be more productive tomorrow.

  3. Start the first task on your list, and focus only on that task until it is complete. By focusing on your list will increase your feeling of accomplishment and success. This is why it is so important to put you first on your list!

  4. Move on to the next task; lather, rinse and repeat. As you move from task to task leave room for the unexpected–knowing that we are not in control of how things may go.

  5. Address interruptions when they come, then resume the current task. Making room for interruptions and the unexpected reduces feels of frustration and lack of control which gets us of track.

For example: Imagine you are cleaning up your house. You have company coming over, and tasks you need to get done include; taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, putting away clean dishes, and folding and putting away laundry. You would want to prioritize your tasks and focus on one at a time.

You can implement this same procedure for the rest of your life! Use it in your business, managing your household, and more!

Some Tips for Business Owners and Leaders (that is each one you!)

Utilize time-blocking. If email is distracting, check it at set times during your day. Other than those times, your email is not open on your computer, and notifications are muted. The same goes for social media; if you are not actively posting or engaging with your audience, turn off your notifications so you can focus. In general, keep tabs on your computer limited to what ones you need to complete the task at hand.

Imagine life as a single-tasker who has more energy, better productivity, is more disciplined, improved attention span, is less stressed, and overall, a happier person. Of course, you can top it off by booking my Happiness Strategy Call as well – it’s free.

The Moral of the Story

When it comes to getting things done, less is more!

So, next time you're trying to get something done, resist the urge to multitask. Choose not to lie to yourself. Instead, turn off your phone, close your email, and focus on the task at hand. You'll be surprised at how much better you'll be able to do it and how much less stressed you'll feel.

Until next time…

✨ Light & Love

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