I used to be so proud that I can juggle 5 tasks simultaneously that I boast about it in my resume and cover letters.
I used to be so proud that I am an “expert multitasker” that I unconsciously accept more and more responsibilities until it piles up and turns into something I could not control anymore.
I used to feel so accomplished whenever I feel like I have a busy life or a hectic lifestyle that I feel justified whenever I do not make time for myself.
I used to think that multitasking is a skill you must have to lead yourself to success that I gave so much importance to it and shared what I believe was its benefits to people I know.
I used to believe that multitasking is a good thing and something to be proud of… until it is not.
“To do two things at once is to do neither.” – Publilius Syrus
Debunking The So-Called Benefits Of Multitasking
Multitasking saves you time
Wrong. Because you are doing multiple tasks at once, you actually LOSE more time. Honestly, think about it. What is better? Doing three or more things at the same time and trying to race with time as you finish everything, or focusing on one task at a time and moving on to the next one once you are done?
“But if you do one task, that will take up more time” No, it won’t. Yes, you can do several things at once but you cannot focus on several things at once. And finishing a task requires focus.
An article by Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience, states that toggling between tasks requires our brain to do ‘a series of small shifts’ which decreases our creativity, wastes our time, and drains our mental energy by continuously refocusing and backtracking on each task.
If you focus on one task, your attention, energy, and momentum will solely be dedicated to that one task that you will notice you are done with it in about 10-15 minutes. Your mind and attention will not be distracted by other things which are designed to make you delay your work. If you try to do 2 or more things at once, your focus will be all over the place which will result in you to making more mistakes and more required time to fix those mistakes.
Multitasking gets more things done
This basically supports the first point given above. The idea of getting more things done is probably the biggest reason why people multitask and definitely the biggest mistake of all. Multitasking does nothing beneficial for your productivity. Instead, multitasking reduces your productivity.
In essence, you are doing more when you multitask, yes. But the real question is: Do you actually get all of these things done? You see, when you multitask, you just accumulate all the bad mores. And when I say “bad more”, these are:
- More distractions
- More confusions
- More responsibilities
- More mistakes
- More stress
- More time constraints
Regarding the importance of minimizing distractions, Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert, states that it is essential to make use of all parts of your brain to avoid mistakes and increase the satisfaction of engagement.
When you multitask, you do get more things but there is little to no chance that you will actually get everything done.
Multitasking defeats procrastination
No, it does not. Worse, multitasking fuels procrastination. The idea of multitasking opens the door (wide open) to procrastination. The fact that you think you can multitask means you are saving and piling up all your tasks and neglecting them to a later date when you can do them all at once. You procrastinate because you think you can multitask. This is where thoughts like “I can do it tomorrow”, and “There’s still time later” come in and is exactly why people are behind in their schedules.
“Inevitably we find ourselves tackling too many things at the same time, spreading our focus so thin that nothing gets the attention it deserves. This is commonly referred to as “being busy.” Being busy, however, is not the same thing as being productive.” ― Ryder Carroll, The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future
Multitasking is the path to burnout. A person can only take and do so much. Save yourself from the state wherein you are so tired of life that you have come to hate living it. Save yourself the energy, time, and stress by doing things one at a time. This is achievable if you have proper discipline in yourself wherein you can prioritize your goals and effectively manage your time. Make it a habit to write a to-do list and actually do all of them. Set a routine wherein you will set aside a time for work and only work. Developing a habit and maintaining a routine isn’t that hard.
There is only such a thing as a ‘hectic lifestyle’ or ‘busy life’ because that is how you choose to live.