Check the mails while drinking coffee. With left hand at the mouse (of the laptop), Nivi answers the call of her boss. She uses her right hand to make a sticky note. A client visits a colleague but she knows him well. So, she gestures him to wait. Meanwhile, she completes the call and begins small talk. While talking, she remembers her coffee and grabs the mug.
This is so common that most of us can relate to this. A modern workplace requires you to play multiple roles. It does not seem a place at all, just a mayhem where deadlines have wings, telephones do not need rest and files need attention just like girlfriends do. And herein, multi-tasking is the only way out. You cannot do anything to change this. Or else, even 72 hours for a day will not seem enough. But do you know that with multi-tasking, you do not give your complete focus to any one thing. Everything just gets about 20% of your attention.
Lure of Multitasking
This is not one of those posts that will ask you to meditate or indulge in some relaxing exercise. I am here to ask you to see the flipside of multi-tasking – Single Tasking. Let your attention be focused on one task at a time. Try this for a day or two. You will realize that you have saved much of your time and your productivity has increased too. Without a single doubt, multi-tasking is tempting. We all desire to be octopuses in our lives. However much you try to use eight of your hands, your mind will be in one of your favourite tasks only. The other seven will surely suffer.
Waste of Energy
When you multi-task, you think that you are able to achieve so much in a single day. Turn over to next day. The tasks that you did yesterday require your attention again as they were not completed in the manner they had to. You dedicate yet another day to them. Multi-tasking at times is waste of time and energy. Re-doing a work takes up your sanity and peace. This results in increased stress levels.
Remember the time (around 10-15 years ago) when every person in the office had a single title. He used to play a role that required his complete attention. That is the reason that the stress levels were minimal in those days. There was no competition between tasks, just people. At present, even competition as a personality is multi-tasking. There is competition between tasks one employee has to execute. Then, there is competition between technology, people, offices, brands and nation. The moment you wake-up from your sleep, you are bogged down by some sort of competition or the other.
The Road to Single Tasking
While we cannot stay out of competition at least at national levels, we can at least reduce the amount of stress we face. Let me show you the road ahead to single tasking. Initially, it might seem tough, but it will help you to achieve more per day.
Learn to Step Away
Whenever you face tasks that challenge your mind to indulge in several activities at once, learn to step away. Give a pause of a few minutes to your brain and the tasks as well. Decide on the route to achieve the task, one at a time. This will require practice but it is guaranteed to give you good results. Experts say that looking out of the window instead of looking into the mobile gives a good break to the mind. When you look out of the window, your mind gets some rest. As a result, the clutter gets cleared and there is enough room for a new idea. Remember even Archimedes had the Eureka moment in the tub, while his mind was at rest.
Stay Out of Distraction
Even while I write this, I am tempted to check my social account or answer the phone of a friend. In this, I am bound to make some spelling mistakes that will disappoint you. The only way to give full attention in this age of technology is to switch off the gadgets while doing important tasks. Deep focus is the need of the present age, which is missing. If you think that it is very tough to do this, then just begin with smaller intervals and work your way up to longer ones. I just did that. I am sure that I will increase my speed, give some innovative inputs and an accurate interesting insight to read.
Consider the Sequence
Do not make your brain work hard and endlessly by diverting in different directions. Single tasking will gift you a lifestyle that you were only able to think of till date. The secret for this would be sequencing your tasks. Before going to bed, plan your next day and arrange the tasks in sequences. (Do not think of brushing your teeth while reading newspaper and watching the news on the television in the morning at the same time.) Do one thing at a time. When you sequence your tasks, you get more out of it.
Benefits of Single Tasking
There are a lot of benefits that you will indulge in through single tasking.
Firstly, it improves the health of your brain. Your brain is not exercised when you pay attention to several things; but, when it focuses on one big task and achieves it in the best manner possible.
When you focus on one task, you invest all your thoughts and energy into it. When you want to give your 100 percent, you get the best results. You become more creative with the tasks.
With single tasking, you are guarded against distractions. This will give you more time per minute. You are not tempted to waste your time in between tasks. This goes a long way in increasing productivity.
Ups the Level of Commitment
When you vow to complete one task at a time, you are individually focused. This makes you commit yourself to something and you are bound to execute that task with excellence.
We get lost while talking to someone at times. This is because our mind is constantly working to find out ways to complete some task even while talking. This breaks the channels of communication. With single tasking, you listen attentively.
Makes You Happier
If there is no competition between tasks, the stress levels reduce. Single tasking gives us time even to ourselves – which we have forgotten in the mayhem to achieve more every hour. When you do one task at a time, you either read a book or watch television or spend time with your kids. This is the need of the day.
It’s time that we eat without thinking about office and we work without thinking about the tiffin box. It’s time that we give complete attention to one task at a time. It might seem tough in the beginning but it is a very fruitful strategy in the present complex age. Take your eyes off the article now and indulge in a cup of coffee. Do not think about anything, not even this article while relishing your cup.
Happy thoughts, once again! Do you want to discuss about this article? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
Photos credit: Graphicstock
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