How Multitasking Can Actually Make Us Less Productive

When we consider our priorities and divide them up, we allow ourselves to be more present in each of our tasks.

Fresh Splash/ Getty Images
Fresh Splash/ Getty Images

If you’re like many overscheduled people, you consider multitasking to be an essential survival tool in a 24/7-work culture that expects immediate results. Performing one activity at a time just feels underproductive. 

Studies show that multitasking isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Juggling emails and text messages undermines your ability to focus and produce, fatiguing your brain in the process. Multitasking also undermines efficiency and quality of life. It often results in half-baked projects that leave you overwhelmed and stressed out. 

Once in a while you must perform more than one activity at a time. But you can put the brakes on multitasking so it doesn’t become your normal course of action. You can prioritize and engage in fewer tasks at one time. You can slow down your pace and finish one project before starting another.

Prioritize:

When work becomes more important than anything else, you develop a pattern of forgetting, ignoring, or minimizing the importance of family rituals and celebrations. You miss your child’s final bow. You forget the birthday party. And even if you do make it to an event, you might have trouble concentrating because your mind is back at the office. 

What did you miss because you were working? Was it that school play or your daughter’s winning shot? It’s important to contemplate what is conveyed to your family when work always comes first. Consider your work and change the patterns that don’t support your family priorities.

Excerpt from #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life with permission from the author and publisher.

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