It’s no secret that we’re addicted to ‘multitasking’. In fact, we’re far too good at it. Multiple browser tabs open, juggling five different tasks at once, walking while replying to emails; sound familiar? We’ve all seen the research proving that multitasking is not a productive nor healthy method of working, yet we can’t stop doing it.
According to Psychology Today,“when you multitask ‘successfully’, you activate the reward mechanism in your brain which releases dopamine, the happy hormone. This dopamine rush makes you feel so good that you believe you’re being effective and further encourages your multitasking habit.” Essentially we’ve conditioned ourselves into perceiving multitasking as the ultimate efficiency. The more we do, the more we get done; when it’s the polar opposite. Multitasking leaves us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and hinders our ability to be authentically productive.
Our brains work best when we focus on one thing at a time, meaning that our optimum efficiency lies in the art of Monotasking. Monotasking (also known as unitasking or “single-tasking”) is fairly self-explanatory – it involves paying attention to and completing one task at a time.
So, how do you monotask?
Plan your day
Lack of clarity is a major culprit in multitasking. Know what you need to get done and prioritise by importance. Then look at your schedule and see when you can have the time to complete each task.
Limit what’s open on your computer to only those programs essential to the task at hand. By allowing your mind to focus on one thing, you’re reducing the likelihood of becoming distracted.
Automate wherever you can
Wherever possible, hand over meticulous, manual tasks to technologies that automate and streamline work processes. Not only does this lighten your to-do list, but it also removes the disruption often caused by these tasks. Unexpected shift vacancy? Don’t stop what you’re doing, ShiftMatch will automatically fill it for you (find out more here).
None of the above matters if you don’t practice self-discipline. While it’s important to set up the right working structure, it’s even more critical to ensure you stick to the process you’re creating. Don’t be tempted to jump between tasks; a singular focus is key.
There is no easy answer to breaking the ‘multitasking’ habit. It takes focus and self-discipline in ensuring you set up a working environment that allows you to succeed at monotasking. Whatever you decide, just ensure you take regular breaks to let your brain to recharge.