Why Multitasking Makes You Less Efficient

Though people do have 2 eyes and 2 hands, many find it hard to focus on more than one thing at once. In theory, multitasking means that you are able to divide your attentions between multiple tasks. If this were truly true, then we would expect our output to be multiplied by the number of things that we were trying to do: working on that presentation x emails x Facebook x scraping that gum off your shoe x oh look how beautiful it is outside! See my point? It might seem obvious, but dividing our attention actually reduces the attention we have to expend in the first place, making us far less efficient than if we took on tasks one at a time.

If you find yourself wondering why trying to juggle more tasks than you have fingers and toes isn’t helping you get more done, just check out this article from the Huffington Post about the “9 Habits of Extremely Productive People”. In the article, the common threads are simplification, prioritization and relaxation. By figuring out what tasks on your to-do list are crucial and which can be deferred, you can tackle your toughest tasks first, when you have the most energy. This way, the distracting stuff like emails and reports can come later, when you’re in the autopilot portion of the workday. The relaxation part is basically about knowing your limits. People aren’t robots and, at a certain point, not taking a break will decrease your efficiency a lot more than a brain-clarifying trip to the sandwich shop would. Don’t think of time on break as time wasted, but rather as an essential component of a productive work day. To read the article from the Huffington Post, follow the link below.

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