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Jun 4, 2018

Why Multitasking Is Bad…And Why You Don’t Have Time For It!

Do you wear your ability to multitask as a badge of honour?

But yet always feel a little bit like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting enough done?

You may be surprised to hear that it’s actually bad for your brain in the short term and even your health in the long run and makes tasks take LONGER than they should.  

You literally get LESS done when you multitask!

Yep…productivity goes down by around 40%!!

You’re Not Even ‘Multitasking’

You’re actually not even multi tasking at all, you’re constantly context switching which means it will take the brain some time to catch up, each and every time you switch between different tasks.

Your short term memory can only hold so much (around 5-9 things) so that feeling of knowing you were ‘just about to do something’ and not having a clue what it was is often because you’re giving your brain too much to deal with at once and it gets sensory overload.

Ever tried to read a book ad watch TV at the same time?  Or listen to an audio book while checking facebook? And yet you can’t remember anything that you just read or saw?  Yeah…that!

It also stops you getting into flow (that moment where you’re on a roll and time seems to whizz by because you’re so in the zone!) which means it takes up SO much more brain energy, and you only have so much in a day so it needs to be used wisely, it’s a precious commodity you know!

The annoying thing is however…that our brains actually reward us for doing this!!  It gives us a little hit of Dopamine every time we send an email or complete a task but it actively stops us getting the big stuff done because we’re focusing on all the little irrelevant tasks.

So you HAVE to be aware of this in order to stop yourself doing it. You will need to have some discipline.


You Lack Focus

The conscious brain can only focus on one thing at a time without compromising what we’re working on.

It’s a myth that as women we’re GREAT multitaskers.  Yes we are to an extent…BUT that really doesn’t mean it’s good for us or that we ‘should’ do it unless we really have to.

A Harvard Study on multitasking showed that students IQ reduced to the level of an 8 year old! It literally makes you less intelligent.  Multi tasking can reduce our IQ by 15 points.


Multi Tasking Is STRESSFUL!

You will be pumping cortisol (the stress hormone) through your body which has a detrimental effect on your health in the long term (depression, weight gain, decreased heart health, increased blood pressure…you know, the small stuff!).

So multitasking is literally bad for your health. Plus it’s really mentally exhausting.


You’re More Mindless Than Mindful

You stop noticing what’s going on around you.

Mindfulness is the antidote to mindlessness. Mindlessness is doing things without even really paying attention, like social media etc.  

It’s also a great stress buster so the less you’re being mindful, the less attention you’re giving to what’s going on around you the more stressed you’ll feel and the less detail you’ll see so things can and will get missed because you’re not concentrating.

You also literally start missing out on life because your attention is everywhere else.


It Causes Mistakes

Your brain has a finite amount of attention to give to one task. When you’re not concentrating that’s when mistakes will happen.

But you’re not paying enough attention so you won’t even notice.  And when you do, you’ll be frustrated and then spend even MORE time correcting it.

So, it actually slows you down.  Tasks take MORE time when you’re trying to do multiple things.



Eliminate Distractions.

Ok you’re not going to like me for this one to start with it but you’ll thank me in the long run.

Turn OFF your phone’s notifications.  Set them to do not disturb. Even if you tell yourself you won’t look at them, when you see them the damage has already been done. It will be in the back of your mind and you will be DESPERATE to check them RIGHT NOW…so your mind is elsewhere…do you see how this doesn’t help?

I have certain times that my phone is set to do not disturb specifically for this reason.

Shut down your tabs.  Only have the tabs open on your computer that are actually necessary for the task at hand or you WILL flit between them.  

Email is SUCH a time suck but if you set certain times of the day to check and respond you will feel so much more productive and in control.  If you need to buy some time put an autoresponder that anyone who sends you an email will receive and then buy yourself some time. ‘Hey, thanks for getting in touch.  I’ll get back to you as soon as possible’ or anything along those lines, even put a time limit on it if you like ‘within 24 hours’ to buy yourself that time, peace of mind and permission to not check every 5 seconds.


Schedule Your Time In

You can use the example i’ve just mentioned regarding your emails but you can do this with every area of your business and your life.

Schedule in time for your social media, time for your content creation, time for responding to notifications.  You’ll soon find how much more efficient and in control you feel.

Ask loved ones for peace and quiet at these particular times too and let them know what you’re up to.  They’ll be much less likely to interrupt if they know that if they don’t you will be finished sooner!


Try Batching Instead!

Batching is my best friend, but it’s also our brains best friend too. You can do this two ways.  One batch the same task and do several of the same thing so you ‘get ahead’ of yourself. But you can also batch similar tasks together because you won’t be context switching as much and your brain will love you for it.

I’m a BIG batcher, I do it as much as I can.  I batch my Instagram, my social posts, my emails, my blogs all sorts!  You name it i’ll try and batch it. I’ll batch things in my personal life too.  If I have errands to run i’ll batch them into a particular time slot and get them all done at once.  It’s a GREAT way to create more time in your life and gives you lots of headspace back too.

All of this is just a simple shift in awareness and how you’re thinking to help you become more efficient, feel less overwhelmed, less stressed and be more productive.  Let go of the myth of being great at multitasking and say hello to new levels of getting stuff done!

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