Let’s look at these questions together, shall we?
Question 1: When do you accomplish more?
a. when you focus your full attention on a single task, or
b. when you watch TV, read mail, chat with friends on the phone or text them, all at the same time?
Question 2: Which task takes less time and effort to accomplish?
a. one that you fix your attention on, or
b. one where you try to carry out several tasks at the same time?
Question 3: Where do you lose the most information?
a. While being focused on a task, or
b. While switching between tasks and scrambling to catch up?
Is multitasking really the answer to getting more done and doing it well?
What is Multi – Tasking?
Multitasking is perceived to be a pointer of productivity, organisation and efficiency.
To multitask means to perform more than one task at a time, keep track of progress in these tasks and go from one to the other without losing information.
To state the obvious would be to acknowledge the fact that working more efficiently eliminates the need to multitask. Ample time to move from one thing to the next will exist.
If you are moving quickly between tasks, completing them one by one rather than circling back around, the need to multitask will not arise.
The human brain is not capable of focusing on more than one task at the same time, rather, it shifts attention between them, much like google search. It is carried out to illuminate whatever information is directed to it per time.
By improving your ability to focus better on one thing at a time without distractions, you increase the chances of completing a task more thoroughly and quickly.
A continuous endless search between tasks will reduce your attention span. Psychology and Human Medicine identified the anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to be parts of the brain responsible for controlling an individual’s attention span.
The interesting pattern in the brain is that the anterior cingulate cortex affords you the ability to control your attention span while the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex gives direction to whatever it is directed to.
These sections of the cortex make up your personal attention span that allows you focus on one or multiple competing things at a time.
If you want to get the best out of a task, learn to focus. Here’s why: trying to multitask fatigues us and decreases our ability to deal with more than one task.
To be in control of this,
- select one task at a time;
- write it down and break it into smaller tasks;
- prioritise your time by working on tasks that primarily contribute towards what you tend to achieve.
Paying attention to a task involves being intentional about your goal.
How to Improve Focus
To focus means to pay particular attention to an activity or something. Focus allows you to work more quickly and efficiently.
Focus gives you control over your own time and energies. Instead of being a victim of your thoughts, you can take control and direct where your energies go.
Additional benefits include:
- strengthening your attention span: this gives you the freedom to escape from ideas and obsessive patterns that will stress
- enhanced intuition: you’d do yourself a huge favour when you exercise your five senses.
- peace of mind.
Do you struggle with focus on one task, switching between tasks or multitasking?
- be mindful of everything you do;
- building a sustainable habit will be beneficial;
- learn to take deep, slow breathes while ignoring distractions and intrusive thoughts.
While it may be difficult to cut out these stimuli at first, with practice you will be able to control your actions and reactions and direct your attention where you intend.
This is how to expand your ability to focus on one task at a time.
Multitasking makes you prone to errors due to insufficient attention. On the other hand, focusing on doing one thing at a time can help us in many ways:
- Less Mistakes;
- More Calm.
One task at a time is enjoyable. It’d also help you become more productive.
Your brain can focus on one thing at a time and you can strengthen its ability to shift focus when you concentrate on one task at a time.
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