GETTING A TASK DONE WELL IS FAR BETTER THAN GETTING LITTLE DONE ON MANY TASKS
Multitasking is a word that gets tossed around a lot today. It is important to understand what it is and why it doesn't work. Multitasking is when we are trying to manage things (thoughts and actions) at the same time. It may be a surprise to know, however, that people who multitask are actually less productive than those who just concentrate on one project a time. A recent Harvard Business Review post says that multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ (Bergman, 2010). Finally, for those who still argue that they're great at multitasking, research indicates that even though we think we're "multitasking" it's actually our brain rapidly switching from one task to another, rather than processing them simultaneously. People who seem to be good at multitasking are simply good at being faster at switching back and forth between two things not doing two things at a time.(Scientific American, 2009).
It is important to make our to-do lists, but it is more effective to understand the 3-5 imperative things you need to do and get them done first. Anything more than 5 immediately moves you into the same overwhelm. When we can think of compartmentalized thinking, like invoicing, client work, business development, research, etc it is more focused. Then within each topic list the highest level activities for each compartment and then pull the top level task from each one. It is very helpful to time your activities and then move from one to the next. There is scientific evidence that shows that people who are task oriented are much more productive and efficient.
How do you manage your priorities? Do you think multitasking works?
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