The research out there on multitasking is quite consistent. We live in an ever more multitasking world and it seems to be negatively affecting our productivity. Check out this article that outlines some of the problems that arise with multitasking, or “multi switching” as they call it- essentially switching from task to task. Multitasking is a misnomer because really none of us can effectively work on two things at once.
Some of the issues created by multitasking are reduced creativity, reduced efficiency, poor working memory. Other research claims that chronic multitasking can reduce productivity anywhere between 20-40%. So how do we begin to refocus in an ever more distracted world?
Overcoming the perils of multi-switching is all about increasing concentration. Here’s how to begin.
Turn off alerts and interruptions. If you are working on a project, turn off the ringer on your cellphone. Close the Facebook tab on your browser. Give all your attention to the task at hand. You may have as many as 5 distraction sources happening while you are working. Start by at least reducing to 2, and see if you notice a difference.
Breathe through distractions. Inevitably, your mind will begin to wander, you may feel bored or frustrated, you may feel a need for more outside stimulation. Take a break- close your eyes, breathe, and settle in for 5 minutes. Refocus, and come back to the task at hand.
Increasing concentration is the antidote to distractibility. Focus your energies and overcome the detriment of multitasking.