Multi-tasking is defined as the concurrent performance of several jobs done at the same time, by the same person (or computer).

One thing at a time

On Day 14 you worked on decluttering a few habits that could be muddling your focus. One of those unhelpful habits is multitasking. Focusing on one thing at a time helps you avoid multiple unfinished projects, and allows you to do your best work.

It also makes those around you feel heard and valued. If you are on your phone while sitting at the dinner table you are multitasking. Your attention is divided between your family/friends and whatever is on your phone. 

Research shows that Multi-tasking causes stress, lost productivity, low-quality work and resentment.

Today, we are going to take a look at some of the ways the pressure to do more in less time can be damaging:


Increased distractibility

It’s been demonstrated that people who multi-task the most are actually more distractible than those who do so less frequently. It’s believed that the constant rapid switching from task to task your brain must engage in through multi-tasking can lead to difficulty in determining which interruptions are important and which aren’t. Therefore, you’ll find yourself being pulled away by any minor distraction. 

Physical accidents

The distractibility of multi-tasking can have real, physically harmful results. When your mind is unable to concentrate fully on a task, it’s easy to make careless mistakes. In fact, one study of New York City pedestrians and cyclists who were struck by cars found a significant percentage of the 1,400 studied admitted that they were using their cellphones when they were hit. 

Impaired memory

Quickly moving from one activity to another on a regular basis can lead to memory problems. This constant switching disrupts short-term memory. It can also cause you to miss noticing details that might be important, damaging recall. 

Potential overeating

Many of us multi-task while eating. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of cognitive effort to eat, so why not get something else done at the same time? Did you know that making this type of multi-tasking a habit could be detrimental to your health? Your brain doesn’t always process exactly what and how much you’ve eaten. As a result, this makes it easy to not notice when you’re full and to overeat. 

Damaging relationships

Multi-tasking takes attention away from the person you’re with. This can be perceived as hurtful and rude. It also impairs actual communication. If you find yourself paying attention to other things while spending time with the people who are important to you, it’s a wise idea to try to limit such behavior, especially if you truly value your relationships.

Today’s assignment:

  • Pay attention: Are you dividing your attention? Are you focusing on your phone instead of your family? Are you allowing your family to interrupt you while you work?  
  • As you move throughout the day, do your best to do one thing at a time.

It takes practice, but you can do it!

Day 15 Recap:

  1. Multi-tasking causes stress, lost productivity, low-quality work and resentment.
  2. Focusing on one thing at a time is actually more productive.


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