ProdPod, a Productivity Podcast The Podcast of Personal Productivity Lessons in Two Minutes or Less

August 4, 2011  

This episode's tip: Single-tasking is the way to achieve more with greater focus and less stress, not multi-tasking.


For as long as I can remember, productivity experts have lauded the virtues of multi-tasking, or doing more than one thing at the same time for efficiency's sake. However, what scientific studies have taught us in recent years is that focus on a single task at a time actually accomplishes more than multi-tasking. Think of it this way, your brain cannot consciously have two thoughts at the same time. For example, try to think about what the number one and the letter A represents to you simultaneously. Impossible, no? You must think about one conceptually then the other.

So, what are you doing when you're multi-tasking? You're actually quickly changing focus back and forth between each task. And just like a car, you cannot turn the vehicle in two directions concurrently. And every time you turn the vehicle, you must slow down, recalibrate the car's direction then return acceleration to your original cruising speed. This takes careful focus and time not only with a car but with a change in each task.
In essence "single-tasking" to complete a task fully as the only item you're focusing and/or working on is more efficient than the notion of multi-tasking. The ancillary benefits are focus, less stress and faster project completion. This all equates to more time to relax or accomplish more goals that are fulfilling to your productive life.

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