If you’re like many people, you spend most days multitasking. You’re probably so used to multitasking that you don’t even realise when you’re doing it. After all, it’s a skill many employers look for in their employees.
Many people believe multitasking saves them time. It’s actually better to focus though. Focusing lets you concentrate on one task or thought at a time, helping you create a better result for each task.
If truth be known, many people like to multitask because they become bored working on one task at a time.
So why is multitasking bad?
1. You have to switch from task to task. This takes time for your mind to change into the right mindset for the new task and remember where you left off.
2. Multitasking leads to attention and memory loss. According to a study by Harvard Professor Clifford Nass, in findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, people who use online social media and other forms of electronic communications have trouble focusing their attention and have lower scores on memory tests.
3. Cognitive performance is diminished. A recent study by Zheng Wang, a professor at Ohio State University, showed that multitasking caused students to feel more productive, but showed they were actually reducing their cognitive skills abilities such as studying.
4. It turns people off when you are interacting with them. People who multitask often find themselves coming in contact with others. If you only half pay attention to them, answering texts and phone calls while talking to them, you will lose their respect.
5. Multitaskers lose productivity. Switching between tasks is counter-productive. You lose time and concentration every time you switch to a different task.
5. Multitaskers are less likely to finish one quality project. They may finish all their tasks for the day, but they will most likely be sub-par than if they had focused solely on one to completion.
Multitasking makes it difficult to focus entirely on each task you are doing. You are thinking about emails you have to respond to when writing a report and the phone calls you need to return even while you are thinking about the next task on your to-do list. This type of working environment doesn’t do anything but cause you stress. Instead of multitasking among several tasks, you should prioritise your tasks and break them up into workable time chunks.
Tips to improve focus.
Maybe you want to focus on a single task, but find yourself easily distracted. You find it difficult to focus on what you are doing because you find your mind wandering, you’re worrying about everything or maybe you just have way too many things you need to do to make a choice of just one task to start with.
Here are some valuable tips on how to improve focus.
Try to allocate at least 30 minutes each day to meditate. If you can’t dedicate that much time you can still do a short breathing exercise. Focus on your breathing, really focusing on the air, how it touches your nostrils and enters your lips. How does it feel as it escapes? Your mind may wander, filling with endless amount of thoughts. When this happens bring your thoughts back to focusing on your breathing. Continue this process for several minutes.
Regulating your breathing relaxes your circulatory system and brings you a sense of peace.
Listen to music to help improve your focus. Really concentrate on the music. Try to focus on a single instrument.
Cut goals into small targets.
Having an end goal in mind while working on the tasks to achieve it can frustrate you because you target goal might be too big or difficult. Your results won’t be quick, and it may seem like you aren’t getting any closer to the end. Instead of working toward the ultimate end goal, break it down into smaller, more achievable goals you can reach within a few days. Then cross each smaller goal off your list as you achieve it.
Work within your body’s most comfortable time period. Maybe you work best early in the morning before sunrise. Or late at night. Work when you are most productive. For example many authors get up early to do their writing, while artists often do their best work late at night.
Have you ever eaten a big meal for lunch when working only to feel lethargic and weighed down all afternoon? Eating a heavy meal slows you down and makes you sleepy. If you need or want to, you can go on a small juice fast on a regular basis. It will keep you alert and help keep your body in good physical condition.
Exercise your mind and body every day. Do crossword puzzles. Engage in lively discussions. Build something that’s creative. A simple 30 minute walk every day is all you need to keep your body healthy.
You may need to push yourself some when you’re feeling lazy. If you are hitting a mental roadblock, though, take some time away from the task. Do something else until you can regain your focus on the original task.
Learning to improve you focus will take time but it is worth it. Begin by implementing one or two of these tips into your day to begin changing how well you can become focused.