Multi-tasking is a myth and will be looked up years from now as one of the biggest mistakes in time management. Unfortunately, we’re not to that point yet.
There are scientific studies to back this up and I’ll let you search those out in depth if you want the research, but this post is about common sense.
Is it possible for two things to happen simultaneously? Of course it is. Is it possible for you to give your full attention to more than one activity at the same time? Not with excellent results.
For some reason, being “busy” has become a badge of honor in our society and when someone asks how you’re doing if you say anything except “busy”, “swamped”, or “overwhelmed”, then you’re a slacker who needs a few more apps open on their phone.
It’s OK to admit it, you’re not reading this out loud in a group setting where other “busy” people are going to judge you. This is just you and me and I’m not telling you to take anything OFF of your to-do list, I’m suggesting that you try to Smart-Task instead of Multi-Task.
Rather than update your Facebook status while you’re on the phone with someone, trying just talking to them, then when you hang up, spend 15 seconds updating your status.
Instead of clicking over to an email that just came in while you’re writing a proposal for a new client, close your email or turn the WiFi connection off while you write the proposal, then when you’re at a stopping point turn the WiFi back on, check your messages and reply one-by-one.
Many tasks literally take under a minute, some just a few seconds (text messages, reading an e-mail). But in all reality, if you admit it and just try it sometimes, you’ll find that doing one single thing at a time can get you through your to-do list faster than trying to do it all at once.
One. Thing. At. A. Time. Give it a shot and let me know your results.
Pete Herrick is a radio personality, speaker, blogger and podcaster. He works with groups on leadership, culture, transition, efficiency, storytelling and branding. Find him on social media @peteherrick or at herrickandcompany.com. Now booking engagements, contact us for availability.