Double-Dare to Single-Task!
December 5, 2011 by Kay Grossman


are to single-task!

  1. Set your intentions to single-task once today. Choose a time. Schedule the task.
  2. Set up your environment to support you, by eliminating as many potential distractions as possible. Turn off electronic devices for the duration, put a “do not disturb” or “I’ll give you attention in __ minutes” sign on your door or desk.
  3. When your mind wanders, make a tick mark on a piece of paper and bring your thoughts back to the task at hand.
  4. Congratulate yourself when you’ve completed the designated task.
  5. Share your experience with me and others. What worked? What was challenging?

The Concept:

Much has been written lately about the inefficiencies of multitasking. Yet we continue to do it. We feel connected, in the know, on top of things, and productive when we do more than one task at a time. We email while on conference calls. We check our smartphones during meetings. Many of us feel that we must multitask to meet workplace expectations.

While multitasking was sold to us as the ultimate in efficiency in our technology enhanced world, research shows that it is usually just the opposite. Compared to single-tasking, it takes more time, reduces memory consolidation and learning, and interferes with creativity and interpersonal relationships. It also increases stress.

This all stems from the way our brains pay attention. They (and therefore we) cannot focus on two things requiring conscious attention at once. When we feel that we are multitasking, such as checking our email or text messages while listening to a co-worker’s oral presentation, what we are doing instead is task-switching. Our brains switch back and forth from one task to the other in quick succession, turning rules on and off with each switch, losing memory and time in each instance. What seems like simultaneous processing is actually serial processing. And the costs are high. Jonathan Spira, an expert in information overload, reported in the New York Times that extreme multitasking, an example of information overload, costs the US economy $900 billion per year in lost productivity.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
(Adapted from Ahren Code's "Ahimsa" WordPress theme >>)