Brighton Leadership Group

The Multi-Tasking Myth

Are you proud of your ability to do many things at one time? Brain scientists have shown that multi-tasking is an illusion. You can skim the surface of incoming data, pick out relevant details and then move to the next stream of information. However, this continuous partial attention creates many risks including making errors and increasing the amount of time to complete an activity.
We challenge you to conduct an experiment for a week: eliminate distractions and practice focusing on one task at a time. When your mind comes up with a thought that can take you off course, write it down (keep a pad of paper and a pen next to you) and move on with your focused task.
The benefits of intentional focus include:

  • * Accomplish More – you will complete a task or activity in less time if you devote your complete and total attention. Your productivity goes down by as much as 40% when you are multi-tasking. When you think you are multitasking, you are actually rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting yourself unproductively, and losing time in the process.
  • * Reduce Stress – research shows that multitasking isn’t just inefficient, it’s stressful. Doing one thing at a time and seeing it through to completion is very liberating. Create a tight deadline for yourself; single-tasking to meet it will actually reduce your stress.
  • * Stay Smart – A study showed that people distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQs. The impact of that 10-point drop is same as losing a night of sleep and more than twice the effect of smoking marijuana.

“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”
~ Lord Chesterfield

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