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Multi-Tasking Lowers Our Productivity and Raises Our Stress

By Joey Havens

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“Wow, CeCe, you look like you have had a long day,” as I come into our den after work.  

“Oh my, I got up early,” (this means around 8:30 😊) “I had so many things to do today. I have been going non-stop all day and it seems like I haven’t gotten anything finished. You know me, I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time. It’s exhausting!”

CeCe has just described our work life and really life in general today. We are constantly attempting to multi-task and it’s a myth. I know that’s not popular but it is true. Interruptions and going between tasks actually reduces our effectiveness. We could cite plenty of studies confirming this but for today, let’s focus on how we can #beEvenBetter if we practice focusing on our highest priorities one at a time. With a single focus, we accomplish our task faster and at a higher level of quality.  

Here are some tips on how I have learned to capture the stress-reducing impact and the incredible power of doing one thing at a time. 

  1. Clarify my number one priority that requires focus.
  2. Turn my notifications off. (I keep all of my sounds off anyway unless an urgent matter.)
  3. Put my phone out of sight. (Another proven study on the distraction of having it in sight. Our brain wants to see what is going on.)
  4. Set a time goal for complete focus. (For this blog, I set 25 minutes)
  5. Reward yourself when completed.

Simple things to do and also easy to not do. That’s what usually keeps us from being excellent — the easy things we don’t do. It’s proven over and over that we interrupt ourselves the most during the day and the number one tool is our phone. Our dopamine habit of checking email, Facebook, texts, Twitter and other social media every six minutes on average. 

If focus is extremely difficult for you, start small with your time allocations. Even 15 minutes will change your ability to have an impact. Some studies show intervals of 25 minutes with a ten-minute break work well for bigger projects where we need several hours of focused time.  

Let’s manage our focus to lower our stress and increase productivity.  

CeCe, what are you working on tomorrow? Oh, I’ve got everything I started today to complete.