Why You Need to Stop Multitasking and What to do Instead

For far too long, multitasking has been seen as a positive skill. Professionals brag about it and often flaunt it on their resumes, but it’s not as beneficial as people make it out to be. With technology at our fingertips, we now live in a society of multitaskers.

Multitasking is killing our performance. Too many of us are constantly performing several tasks simultaneously, and it needs to stop. Below are three reasons why you need to stop multitasking, and some ideas of what to do instead.

It diminishes focus

If you feel like you’re constantly busy but aren’t getting anything done, then you’re likely lacking focus. That’s because regularly shifting gears between tasks makes you feel like you’re working even though you’re not getting anything done. If you’re trying to tackle your to-do list, you have to improve your focus.

What to do instead: Write all your to-dos on a sticky note. If they don’t fit, you’re likely trying to fit too much into your schedule. Then choose one task to focus on. Yes, just one. While working on it, ensure you’re free of distractions. This means closing all the extra web browser tabs, turning off the TV, and silencing your phone.

It kills productivity

Contrary to what many believe, multitasking diminishes productivity. This is because switching from task to task requires up to shift focus and apply new skills and rules to each assignment. Mentally switching gears regularly drains our energy and focus, therefore leading to feeling drained, stressed, and anxious.

What to do instead: When trying to get through a long to-do list, try working on a single task a time. It’ll feel counter-productive at first, but you’ll soon realize that solely focusing on a single task will boost your performance and results.  

It hurts your memory

Research has shown that multitasking negatively impacts the retention of information. This is because constant interruptions disrupt the working memory, which has a big impact on memory in the long run. This means that failing to focus on a single task can impact how we remember things now and in the future. A long-term side effect we shouldn’t risk.

What to do instead: Give yourself ample time to work on a single task at hand. When you do this, ensure that you’re not only solely focused on it but that you’re present and absorbing all the information as well. This will ensure that you’re completely attentive to the task and are more likely to remember all the details.