Saturday, October 24, 2015

Multitasking and How to Stop

I am a chronic multitasker. Right now I'm washing laundry, watching Law & Order SVU, writing this post, texting my brother, I have five other tabs open on my laptop, and I'm trying to think of what I need to get done this week. With all of this going on, it's hard to get anything done or give anything my full attention. I write a phrase, look at the tv, finish the sentence, check my phone. Do you see how bad multitasking is?

Multitasking and How to Stop

I realized I was really bad about multiasking the other night when I went over to my friend's house to hangout and watch a movie, but found myself checking my phone every few minutes instead of talking with them or actually watching the movie. How bad is that? Even worse, I noticed one of my friends doing it, too. Instead of enjoying our time together during our last year of college, we're multitasking during our movie night!

I've heard of people talking about this before as one of the problems with "this generation." I usually disagree with people who say stuff like that, but this one is actually true. Most of us cannot sit still or stay off the internet. We always have several things going on at once, and rarely slow down to savor the moment and focus on what we're doing.

To me, just that last sentence about enjoying the moment and focusing on one thing is enough to make me want to stop multitasking. There are days when I'm really good at doing things one at a time and I can definitely attest to the fact that we do miss out on so much when we multitask. We're not looking around at all the beautiful things around us when we're texting and walking. We're not absorbing all the information we're reading when we're reading, listening to music, and texting a friend. We're not even enjoying our time being with people we care about because we have to check our phones. Research shows that multitasking is really just task-switching. It also shows that when you multitask you work slower, make more mistakes, feel more stressed, and it makes you less creative.

So how do you stop multitasking?

  1. Do one thing at a time. I know, easier said than done. To stop multitasking though, you just have to dive right in and start doing one thing at a time. 
  2. Use the pomodoro technique and focus on one thing for 25 minutes. This is a good way to stop multitasking because you have a specific time frame to concentrate on one task and then you can switch it up!
  3. Make a list. I know one of the reasons I multitask is because I worry I'll forget to do it later. If you keep a notepad next to you, you can jot down those little things so you can do them later.
  4. Turn off distractions. Put your phone on silent or turn off notifications. Turn off the TV, pause the song you're listening to, and close any distracting tabs open on your computer. 
  5. Create a schedule or routine. If you know later you're going to get to watch your favorite show on Netflix, it's a lot easier to focus on getting your reading done. Having a routine helps me to focus on the task at hand because I know I'll be able to get to other things later on.
  6. Get in the zone. If you're in the zone where you're enjoying what you're doing and super involved in it, you won't even be tempted to start multitasking.

Are you a chronic multitasker? Are these tips helpful? What do you do to focus on one thing at a time?

Related Post: How to Make Time for Yourself, 10 Ways to Have A Good Day