This week I read an article explaining how a certain breed of frog looks for multitasking when selecting its mate. Oh how similar we are to our amphibian friends in our obsession with doing more than one thing at a time!
The truth is, while multitasking sounds important and necessary, we need to separate what is possible and productive from what is eroding the quality of our work. Try these tips to “toad-ally” revamp your approach to multitasking (Ouch. That pun hurt. You’re welcome.)
1. Don’t kid yourself
I can hold a coffee and my computer, conduct a conference call, eat a sandwich, and roll a suitcase through the airport…for about 5 seconds before I fall flat on my face in a puddle of nonfat double shot mocha. Multitasking might be possible, at least for a little bit, but eventually it produces lower quality, distracted work, which can lead to oversight and disaster. Don’t convince yourself that your constant multitasking is producing the same results as focused work.
2. Do many things, but let them take their turn
Just because you fill many different roles and responsibilities, doesn’t mean you have to attend to them all at one time. Sometimes people say, “I have to multitask, I’m constantly juggling multiple projects at once.” Great! But that doesn’t mean you have to jump haphazardly from one to the next and attempt multiple different tasks at once. You can still maintain the appearance of a multitasker by hyper-focusing on one project at a time, even if it means tackling several projects in the same day.
3. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
With the rise of smartphones, people essentially have a small computer in their pockets constantly, which makes multitasking seem much more feasible. Just because you can do two things at once, doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient, productive, and focused use of your time. Before you split your attention, ask yourself: “Am I doing two things because I must or because I can?”
In our on-the-go society, occasional multitasking is inevitable, but the more we strive for singular focus rather than split distraction, the better.
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