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How can you stop multitasking and still be a more productive person?

As soon as we turn on our computers and sit down at our desks, we are greeted by hundreds of emails screaming for our attention. Our coworkers are whining about the latest workplace program that is intended to induce us to do more work and spend less time at home as our phones beep and ding with new alerts for messages, likes, and comments. Due to all of these diversions, we multitask, dividing our focus between many things. Which is really bad, and that is why we need to stop multitasking.

At some point or another, we have all fallen victim to the myth that women are better multitaskers than men. I know I have done this in the past, especially during interviews. Many of us have even emphasized it as one of our greatest assets. However, the University of Bergen recently reported evidence suggesting men and women are “equally terrible” at multitasking in a blog post on the Harvard Business Review. Since making the most of employees’ working hours is beneficial to the company’s bottom line, many executives have in the past given it top priority when hiring new staff. But as time goes on, it’s become increasingly obvious that attempting to multitask in the way we’ve come to define it (doing numerous activities at once) is not only unhealthy for our health but also impossible.

How can you stop multitasking and still be a more productive person?

Read more: Reasons why you should not multitask

In this article, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • How bad can multitasking really be?
  • What are the ways you can stop multitasking and be a more productive person?

How bad can multitasking really be?

Even the simplest things become much more difficult and take considerably longer to finish when your focus and attention are impaired. According to studies, even though you may think you are multitasking, you are actually task switching. This means that you are dividing your attention between two or more tasks, which depletes the energy you have to complete your work, and that is the reason why you need to stop multitasking. This explains why, despite having engaged in little to no physical activity throughout the day, you feel worn out and unmotivated when you get home at the end of the day. While we are aware that this is a poor method for producing high-quality work, the demands on our time continue to grow over time rather than diminish.

Read more: Is It good to multitask and can you get used to it

What are the ways you can stop multitasking and be a more productive person?

The following are some of the ways you can take to stop multitasking and be a more productive person:

  • Have a clear mindset that you don’t want to be distracted.
  • Create a to-do list
  • Prioritize your most crucial and challenging tasks.
  • Take breaks on a regular basis.
  • Have a good time of rest (sleep).
  • Plan and prepare for your day.
  • Clear everything else off your desk, apart from what you’re working on, to avoid distractions.
  • Do your work properly when you’re at your desk.
  • Learn how to say “No.”
  • Turn off both your phone and your computer notifications during your working hours.
  • Your most crucial tasks should be done in a quiet workspace.

Have a clear mindset that you don’t want to be distracted.

Nothing is worse than having someone interrupt you while you are working on something crucial. The majority of workspaces are now accessible, making it simpler than ever to strike up a discussion with a coworker. While there is definitely nothing wrong with this, it can be very distracting when you have a deadline. The best way to deal with this is to put on a pair of headphones. Even if you’re not actually listening to anything, doing so sends the message that you’d like some space without having to actually cut someone off. Put on a sound effect like pouring rain or white noise to help you focus if you can still hear people talking around you. Read this post now to learn more on how to overcome distractions.

Create a to-do list

Make a list of everything that needs to be accomplished that day. You’ll have more mental capacity to genuinely think about other things once they’re on paper. Next, prioritize that list by creating two columns: “Musts” (tasks that must be finished immediately) and “Everything Else” (tasks that you’d like to perform but can wait if you don’t have time to). One by one, work your way down.

Prioritize your most crucial and challenging tasks.

Setting priorities is essential to avoid the recurrence of multitasking. Most of the time, we rationalize delaying the most difficult tasks by saying, “Well, if I finish all the small things first, I’ll be able to give my full focus to the most crucial task,” which is a very common practice. We’re overlooking the fact that the longer we wait to finish anything, the less energy we’ll have. It actually puts you in a lot better state of mind to get through everything else if you complete your most challenging task of the day first thing in the morning. Do you want to know more on how to prioritize your tasks? Check out this article.

Take breaks on a regular basis.

It is difficult to concentrate for 4 straight hours, starting at 9 in the morning and continuing until lunch. Take a five-or ten-minute break for each hour of deep work. Get up from your desk and go outside for some fresh air. You can also grab a coffee or just a huge glass of water. It’s helpful to step beyond the work zone on a regular basis because doing so actually helps us return to the current activity with more clarity and enthusiasm. This is not an excuse to check your emails or phone, though; in order to feel rejuvenated, our brains require a total vacation from screens.

Have a good time of rest (sleep).

This includes making sure you receive adequate sleep every night, in addition to taking breaks throughout the day. Your brain is fully refueled and prepared to concentrate on the tasks that are necessary when you get enough sleep and take brief, frequent breaks throughout the day.

Plan and prepare for your day.

Without a plan for the day, the day will come up with one for you. It’s really difficult to avoid getting pulled in a million different directions when you let outside forces run your day. When you have a plan for the day, your brain is already prepared for extended periods of focused work since it knows exactly what you want to accomplish when you get to work. You will be quite resistant to becoming sidetracked and will be able to concentrate much better on the tasks at hand.

Clear everything else off your desk, apart from what you’re working on, to avoid distractions.

I remember when I first learned this. I used to work in a law office, where I had case files to manage. When I had a difficult task to complete, if I had more than one case file open on my desk at once, I would catch my eyes straying to the other files. I was trying to find an easier solution. This meant that I was frequently working on three or four cases at once, which invariably resulted in errors and a slower completion rate. Now that I’m working in full-screen mode, the only thing I can see is the project I’m currently working on.

Our phones are a significant distraction as well. This one should go without saying, but having your phone nearby while working, even face down, is like placing a box of chocolates in your line of vision after declaring that you won’t be eating any. Our daily lives have become so embedded with the need to check our phones that we sometimes are unaware that we are doing it. And while it may seem harmless to scroll through our social media accounts for 30 seconds, each time we lose our concentration, it becomes harder to regain it, making the completion of work far more difficult than it needs to be.

The important thing is to turn off your phone instead of simply putting it away. If necessary, move it to a different room or store it in your locker. When you stop checking Instagram every 15 minutes, you’ll be surprised at how much more you can do. You really need to check out this article.

Do your work properly when you’re at your desk.

We are routine-driven beings. If we complete our online shopping and news reading while working at our desks, we will constantly be tempted to do things we shouldn’t be doing right away. Do your online shopping elsewhere—at home or on your phone when you have a break—and only do your work while you are seated at your desk. By doing so, you train your brain to concentrate on your work and block out all distractions.

Learn how to say “No.”

When someone tells you to “learn to say no,” they don’t necessarily intend to be unpleasant to everyone. Delaying a yes actually means just that. The majority of issues arise when we quickly respond “yes.” Then, we have to use a lot of mental effort to come up with excuses for breaking our promise. Saying “Let me think about it” or “Can I let you know later” helps you to quickly return to what you were doing while giving you time to consider the offer.

Turn off both your phone and your computer notifications during your working hours.

The majority of us still complete our work on computers. No matter how motivated you are, distractions like email alert pop-ups and other notifications will be present when you have them enabled. Turn them off, and set aside time during focused work to review emails. As a result of this, you will gain a lot of time by doing this because you’ll be able to stay focused on the task at hand and you’ll also stop multitasking.

There seems to be an unusual expectation at work to be reachable by email constantly. But set aside certain times of the day to check your inbox, and then turn off notifications the rest of the time, unless you actually need to be available for anything in particular. One of the biggest distractions is when badges appear on your screen, and it may be quite difficult to resist the urge to respond quickly. Get rid of the temptation altogether; if you don’t respond to a message quickly enough, the world won’t come to a grinding halt.

Your most crucial tasks should be done in a quiet workspace.

Meeting areas are frequently empty at workplaces. Ask for permission to utilize one of those areas if you need to finish any vital jobs there. You can shut the door, put on your headphones, and pay attention to what matters. This is a wonderful way to eliminate all the other unimportant tasks fighting for your attention so that you can concentrate on just one task.

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FAQs

How do I stop my brain from multitasking?

  • Manage ‘accidental multitasking’ first.
  • Train your brain to monotask.
  • Plan to daydream.

Why can’t I stop multitasking?

Contrary to what you would believe, focusing and avoiding distractions actually makes your brain work less. Even a modest amount of multitasking causes you to feel weary and bewildered because switching between tasks causes your brain to consume more glucose.

How can I stop multitasking while studying?

  • Set limitations.
  • Fit everything in through scheduling.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Stay away from digital distractions.
  • Arrange your study area.
  • Figure out ways to stay focused.
  • Stay relaxed.

Does multitasking permanently lower IQ(intelligence)?

According to research, multitasking not only makes you slower but also reduces your IQ(intelligence). In a study conducted at the University of London, participants who multitasked while completing cognitive tasks showed IQ score decreases comparable to those seen in people who had smoked marijuana or stayed up late.

Does multitasking damage your brain?

In addition to leaving gaps in our thinking, multitasking has a negative impact on our brains. Switching between tasks exhausts the brain’s oxygenated glucose supply, which causes us to become exhausted much more quickly than we would otherwise. According to researchers, those who frequently multitask tend to eat more and drink more coffee.

Why do I jump from task to task?

Switching from one activity or action to another is referred to as task switching or context switching. It gives the idea that we are busy and engaged in our job while, in reality, there are numerous things vying for our attention that prevent us from making real progress.

What does multitasking do to your brain?

Your productivity and effectiveness will suffer if you multitask because your brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Your brain cannot successfully complete two activities when you attempt to accomplish them both at once. According to research, multitasking not only makes you slower but also reduces your IQ(intelligence).

How long can the brain focus without a break?

The human brain can concentrate for up to two hours before requiring a 20–30 minute break.

What are the negative effects of multitasking?

According to different research, people who multitask frequently have more trouble concentrating on difficult or critical jobs, remembering new information; having trouble picking up new information; and feeling more stressed.

Is multitasking healthy?

However, attempting to multitask when the stakes are higher and the activities are more difficult can have a negative impact on our lives or even be dangerous. Our attention is divided when we ostensibly multitask. It makes it more difficult for us to focus entirely on one item.

How do you focus on one thing at a time?

  • Take in a small amount of caffeine.
  • Eat snacks that are energizing.
  • Chew gum or eat a piece of candy.
  • Grab a fidget spinner.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Get rid of outside distractions.
  • Write down thoughts that are distracting.
  • Deal with urgent tasks first.

What are the long-term effects of multitasking?

According to a 2016 study, persistent media multitaskers have poorer working memory (the capacity to hold important information while focusing on a task) and long-term memory (the ability to store and recall information over longer periods of time).

Can you focus on two things at once?

According to neurological scientists, the human brain is unable to focus on two things at once.

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • How bad can multitasking really be?
  • What are the ways you can stop multitasking and be a more productive person?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!