One of the biggest threats to becoming more productive, more focused, and more effective in your business and everyday life is doing too much all at once.
In today’s culture, multitasking has become a badge of honor.
Most people beam with pride when they tell you how many tasks they can do at once – they can be on the phone, check email, do research on an important project, all while listening to their favorite podcast.
But here’s the truth …
Multitasking makes you less effective on ALL counts.
A study from Stanford University found that multitasking actually makes you LESS able to focus on achieving goals and single tasks.
And overall, they found that the more you multitask, the LESS effective you are when you’re multitasking when you’re NOT multitasking, and when you’re trying to achieve a single outcome.
If THAT wasn’t bad enough, check this out…
It turns out that multitasking might actually CHANGE your brain (and not for the better!).
Research at the University of Sussex found that people who multitask have lower grey-matter density.
This makes it harder to focus and can be a big contributor to feelings of anxiety and depression (two emotions you WANT to avoid as much as possible if you want to be as effective and productive as you can be).
“But What If I HAVE To Multitask?”
Now here’s the thing …
There are points in our days where we HAVE to multitask. It’s just part of today’s culture and the accelerating change that’s happening all around us.
For example, there are times when you need to be on the phone with someone, checking an email to confirm something, etc. Or there might be times where you need to be looking at your phone, while still being on your desktop computer, and while looking at the television or another screen.
So what can you do – especially if you want to boost your productivity?
You need to do what my mentor Eben calls “Enlightened Multitasking.”
It’s pretty simple …
First, write down all the multitasking activities you need to do. This could be things like checking and responding to email, calling people and returning phone calls, making reservations, doing errands or ordering office supplies, etc.
Then, what I want you to do is actually SCHEDULE a time in your day to do it all.
This could be a 30 – 60 minute block of time. Ideally, schedule it AFTER you’ve done important work that gives you progress on your most important goals and outcomes.
Then, and only then, are you to multitask.
This is how you become a productivity monster. It’s how you can “control” your day.
You’ve got to schedule all your multitasking in advance.
THIS is what Enlightened Multitasking is all about.
Because instead of being reactive and letting things control you … you’re being proactive and controlling your behavior and energy.
So try it out.
For the next 30 days, make it a point to schedule your multitasking every day and then stick to that schedule. At first, you’ll resist a little bit, just because it is so habitual to do too many things at once.
But you’ll start to see a week or two in, how much it “frees” your mind and gives you a whole new level of focus and productivity in your life.