ProdPod: Episode Nine — Single-Tasking

This episode’s tip: Single-tasking is the way to achieve more with greater focus and less stress, not multi-tasking.

For as long as I can remember, productivity experts have lauded the virtues of multi-tasking, or doing more than one thing at the same time for efficiency’s sake. However, what scientific studies have taught us in recent years is that focus on a single task at a time actually accomplishes more than multi-tasking. Think of it this way, your brain cannot consciously have two thoughts at the same time. For example, try to think about what the number one and the letter A represents to you simultaneously. Impossible, no? You must think about one conceptually then the other.

So, what are you doing when you’re multi-tasking? You’re actually quickly changing focus back and forth between each task. And just like a car, you cannot turn the vehicle in two directions concurrently. And every time you turn the vehicle, you must slow down, re-calibrate the car’s direction then return acceleration to your original cruising speed. This takes careful focus and time not only with a car but with a change in each task.

In essence “single-tasking” to complete a task fully as the only item you’re focusing and/or working on is more efficient than the notion of multi-tasking. The ancillary benefits are focus, less stress and faster project completion. This all equates to more time to relax or accomplish more goals that are fulfilling to your productive life.