On Day 5 of this journey, we talked about how to create more time, and one thing we (purposefully) left off the list is to STOP MULTITASKING.
We humans feel so bogged down by an infinite number of chores, tasks and responsibilities that we (women especially) tend to attempt getting things done “more quickly” by doing five things at once. We also tend to multitask when we want to make a mundane task more interesting.
You know what we’re talking about. When you’re texting at a stoplight (or an even bigger no-no—while driving); sending an email in a meeting while someone else is talking; or making dinner while on the phone and helping with homework.
You’re Not Really Multitasking
In most circumstances, you’re actually not multitasking, you’re switching back and forth from one task to another. For example, if you’re writing an email while a coworker is speaking to you or talking on the phone while helping your daughter with homework, you’re never truly present to either activity—instead, your brain is taking the extra time to switch back and forth between tasks.
It Actually Takes More Time and You Make More Mistakes
Since you’re never really doing two things at once, rather constantly shifting gears, “multitasking” costs you time. Recent research backs this up, showing that multitasking can decrease your productivity by as much as 40 percent.
Additionally, you’re distracted and never giving your full attention to anything—which means that mistakes are more likely to happen. One study showed that workers who are distracted by their email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ. This is twice the amount found in studies on the impact of marijuana smoking.
Example Times When Multitasking Makes Sense
- Folding laundry while talking on the phone
- Watching TV while exercising
- Listening to an audiobook while doing yard work
- Cooking while listening to music