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Multi-Tasking is a Myth | 3 Techniques To Use Instead

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you could tell the minute that they got a text? There was a slight pause or distraction and you knew that they were no longer in the conversation, even momentarily. This is an example of multi-tasking and turns out, multi-tasking is a myth! Multi-tasking is actually task switching or moving back and forth between tasks.

People who multitask are less productive, more prone to making errors, and take longer to finish things. Since most of us have multiple things that we need to finish within the course of a day, how do we accomplish this?

Multi-Tasking Myth Buster #1: Know What You Are Working On

You may have things that you need to do on a weekly or monthly basis as well as things that come up on an ad hoc basis. I track the things that I need to do regularly in an electronic format (OneNote if you are interested). Then I also keep a running electronic list of projects that I am researching or in process/on hold with. I write down on a piece of paper the one task that I am working on at the moment so that I always know what I am working on. That way, if I get interrupted, I can refer back to that piece of paper and continue.

Multi-Tasking Myth Buster #2: Pomodoro Technique

This involves focusing completely on one task for 25 minutes. At the end of 25 minutes, take a quick break - stretch, walk, drink water, check email. For full details, you can check out this article here.

How to make this work:

  • Choose ONE task to work on.

  • Closeout of email, hide your phone, remove electronic distractions.

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes and work exclusively on the one task.