Why Multitasking is a Bad Habit.

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

5 simple tips to move from multitasking to unitasking.

Multitasking just isn’t what it used to be!

Multitasking has gotten a bad rap lately. I used to wear my Multitasking Expert Level 5 pin with pride, but these days I’m learning it was all just an illusion as fickle as my focus. Within writing these first sentences, I’ve bounced between checking my credit card balance, responding to a text, and selling a dresser on Kijiji. If that sounds productive to you, put your phone on silent, and read on.

Multitasking, or what’s now being referred to as task-switching is responsible for a ~40% reduction in productivity. And before you switch browsers and google that stat for yourself, take a breath, focus, and continue reading.

Humans are not able to perform more than one cognitive task at a time, we’re Unitaskters. So, when you find yourself bouncing between browsers, apps, and hardware, remember the subconscious decision to switch tasks means regaining new focus over and over which adds up to lost focus-minutes per task. Which might not seem like a lot but calculate that throughout the day and you’ll be astounded. I was.

A lack of planning and structure paired with hordes of distractions equals kindling for task-switching. In this Covid era the lack of community and connection are impactful as well. Is this starting to sound all too real? With a bit of technology and commitment, you too can take back productivity and own your calendar.

1. Herd your Focus. Like Sheep.

Once you realize that each task is important (not talking about social media scrolling here), it’s time to prioritize. List your tasks in order of importance. This will herd your focus and naturally create a work funnel to guide you. Believe it or not, tackling the biggest fish first will reduce anxieties that gain momentum as we put-off tedious, difficult, or dull tasks.

2. Turn off Distractions

This goes without much explanation and should go without saying. At first, it might seem inconsequential, or even produce thoughts of panic: “What if someone really needs to reach me?” “Does my phone even have an off switch?” While some distractions maybe be necessary, like a call from your boss, or a lunch break, aim to become aware of unhelpful distractions and feel empowered to tune-out.

3. Match Like with Like

Batching your time with similar activities or projects is the real MVP of efficiency. Have you ever thought about batch-cooking? Same principles here: focus hard for a defined period of time and reap the benefits of freedom that batching gives you. It’s a common practice with social media influencers too.

4. Celebrate Wins

This might be the hardest given our remote roles and lack of connection. Often we overlook the small, even micro wins; add them up and that’s how you reach a big goal. Research shows that small celebrations can help with brain wiring and healthy habit formation… and it just feels good even if it’s not your win!

5. Set Yourself Up

Amp up your focus (and overall happiness) by joining Focus Bubbles; an online community of individuals ready to tap into high-functioning virtual spaces where everyone joins separately-together to do their best in that moment… and wins - micro or macro - are celebrated!

Jump into a Bubble and see what it can do for you, or schedule a chat with Dawn to learn more.


Dawn O’Connor

I have over 30 years of experience working with more than 10,000 clients in helping people unlock their productivity potential. Personal productivity is my passion! Every day I am curious and excited to learn what people are working on. I can’t wait to see you in a Bubble!

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