Multitasking: Why it is killing your productivity

 There are so many distraction within our daily life.  It is hard to work with out feeling the need to multitask or give in to distractions.  However, by doing this you are setting yourself up for failure.  In this post it explains why multitasking and distractions are killing your productivity and what you can do to stop the vicious cycle.  There is also a free checklist to follow to keep you from falling into that trap again.  Click through to find out what you can do and download the checklist now! 

I have a few questions for you.  Are you a big multitasker?  Do you think that multitasking helps save you time?  Today I would like to show you why multitasking is killing your productivity and what you can do to stop it.  

We live in a day that is filled with distractions and the illusion that multitasking is a good thing.  I'm going to show you why multitasking is bad.  Then I will walk you through what steps you can take from allowing multitasking and distractions to take over your world.

In order to balance your work life, it is extremely important to make sure you are as productive and efficient as possible.  Let's dive into some gruesome facts of why multitasking is killing your productivity and efficiency.  

I will not bore with too many details however, I would like for you to see how it is affecting you on a daily basis.

Why is multitasking bad?

First off, only 2% of the population can successfully multitask.

Multitasking can lower your IQ by 10 point which is equivalent to losing 1 full night sleep.

40% of productivity is lost to multitasking.

It takes about 15 minutes to transition from one task to another as opposed to single tasking.  

Multitasking leads to:

  • More mistakes
  • Remembering fewer items
  • Takes longer to complete focus tasks
  • Mentally exhausting oneself

Do you ever find yourself on the couch watching a TV program and you are on your phone checking emails, playing a game, or scrolling through social media?  Can you really focus all of your attention on both items?  

You really can only focus on the 1 item that has got the most of your attention.  You may be bouncing back and forth between screens, however, you are not fully retaining the TV program and what is on your phone.

You may think you are multitasking when you are actually serial tasking.

What is serial tasking?

You may be mistaking multitasking for serial tasking.  Serial tasking is shifting from one task to another in rapid succession.

Some examples of serial tasking are switching from a phone call to a document to a YouTube video, and then to an email.

It takes time for your brain to transition to different types of tasks.

When you are serial tasking do you find yourself still thinking about the last task you were on?  It can be really hard to shift your focus to extreme change so quickly.  Your mind is a powerful tool, set your mind up for the most success as possible.

Later on, I will tell you what type of things you can do to avoid serial tasking.

Another problem facing your productivity is distractions

Why distractions are just as bad.

Distractions can be just as bad as multitasking and serial tasking.  Let's talk about why distractions are so bad.

Distractions are taking your mind away from the task at hand.

What are causing us distractions?

Let me give you some examples of some distractions (they're probably distracting you right now).

  • Your email
  • Social media
  • YouTube (those darn cute cat videos)
  • Text messages

Your smart phone and computer are full of distractions.  

What you can do to stop multitasking, serial tasking, and distracting yourself.

So, enough of all of the bad new.  Don't worry the world will not come to an end.  There is hope for you yet.  

The good news is, there are simple solutions to fixing this.

Let's talk about your computer.

How many tabs or windows do you have open right now?

Hopefully, the answer is either 1 or 2.  There really is no need to have 5, 10, or 600 tabs or windows open.

There are some awesome tools that can help you with this.  

  • Utilize bookmarks.  

This way you can easily come back to the page you were on quickly.  By doing this you will be less likely to allow your mind to drift to a different window or tab.

  • Use Pinterest

This is an amazing tool.  If you haven't heard of it already, it is a virtual bulletin board.  It allows you to store websites that you want to come back to again and again.  The plus side is you are not filling your bookmark bar with tons of websites.  

Do you allow notifications to pop up?

There are a few ways to stop those notifications.  Setting your phone to do not disturb or turning the phone off will help.  Then you will not be tempted to look at your phone if it goes off.

Have you tried burying some of those distracting apps on your phone?  The idea behind burying some of those apps are if you have to open 2 or 3 different folders to get to that app you are less likely to open it up constantly.

However, if your app is on the main screen for conveniences well then my friend you are going to conveniently open it up at any chance you get.

Do not allow google, or any other browser for that matter, to send you notifications.  Not knowing if you've received an email or if someone responded to a social media update will not hurt you.

Utilize timers!

For every task, set a timer to understand how much time it takes for you to finish that task.  You will gain control of your day in no time at all once you start implementing this.  Understanding how much time every little thing takes will help you set yourself up with an accurate daily schedule.

Normally I will set a timer for about 45 minutes then, start working on one task.  For example when I'm writing this post.  I have a timer set up for myself.  I close the door to my office, turn my phone on do not disturb, close all other windows and tabs, and start writing away.  

I've removed distractions and temptations from my little world.  Then once the timer goes off I have a choice to make.  Either stop what I'm doing and take a break or if I'm in a groove then I'll reset the timer for 30 minutes and continue to work without distractions.

Set up a schedule.

Schedule a time to check social media, email, and YouTube.  You can still enjoy your time and be productive.  It's all about setting a schedule and sticking to it.

I like to set up 10-minute social media breaks a few times a day for myself.  

When it comes to checking email I only check my email twice a day.  

No, I do not spend hours sifting through emails.  Actually, I only spend about 30 minutes total per day going through all of my emails and answering them.  I set up a system that works and keeps my inbox at zero.  If you'd like to know how I've accomplished that you can read all about it.

Related: Zero Inbox: How to clean out your email quickly and efficiently

Batch like items together.

When working on tasks it is wise to batch like tasks together.  Instead of bouncing from one task to a completely opposite task why not set up a schedule that will gradually ease into the next.  

Let me explain; when you begin to start working on certain tasks group similar tasks together like responding to emails, returning phone calls, etc.  

Another thing you could do is work on a larger task but before you start working on that large task, break it up into smaller tasks.  

With this, you'll want to grab a piece of paper, write down the large task at hand and write down the "to do list" for this task.  For example, you'll want to complete A, then once that is done you'll move on to B, and so on until your large task is finished.

Make sure you are taking breaks.  Stand up remove yourself from your task for about 5 minutes then you can return and you'll see how quickly your productivity improves.

Eat the Frog.

Have you heard the expression Eat the Frog?  What that means is start working on the hardest or most undesirable tasks first, that way you will breeze through the rest of your tasks.

Start your day off with the hardest and most undesirable task will keep your day flowing.  You will usually have more energy, motivation, and mind power to finish the not so fun stuff.

Some examples are if you are cleaning your home, start off by doing the chores you most dislike, then by then end you are not wearing yourself out before you finish those horrible chores. 

Setting yourself up for success.

I know that there has been a lot of gruesome facts about why multitasking is bad and why having distractions are bad.  

There are a lot of things that you can do to keep you from doing that.  That is great, right!  However, you may be feeling overwhelmed with all of this information.  My goal is to make sure once you read a new blog post you are inspired to start.  That is why I've put together a stop multitasking checklist.

What ever the task may be, you can run down your checklist and know that you are going to be not multitasking and setting yourself up for the most success.  

Sometimes, getting going is the hardest part.  Working alone isn't always the answer.  We sometimes get in our own way of success.  

I'm talking success on every level.  It can be just being motivated to start.  Wherever you are on the motivation scale, help is sometimes needed.  That is why I created a completely free e-course that will help you take control of your day and allow you to save 6+ hours a week.

Imagine having enough time to sit down and enjoy a chapter or two of a book.

Imagine having enough time to have coffee or lunch with your friends.

Imagine completing your to do lists.

I've put together an amazing workbook to help you with that called the Time Saving Busy Mom workbook.  Inside this workbook, I share 8 tips with you to help you save time in your daily life.  Each tip will help you save time for busy mom.

Each tip has a worksheet attached to help you create a game plan so you can take action and become successful with saving time and becomeing more organized.  Click hte button below to download the free workbook now.

Have you already implemented some of these tips?  Do you have some awesome tips that I didn't cover?  I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read this, your support really means a lot!