Stop Juggling Projects and Tasks at Work: Multitasking Doesn’t Work

Here is what happens when you try to multitask at work.

Young businessman is stressed at work from multitasking.

Whether it’s texting and walking, trying to write an email while listening to your video conferences, or even trying to hold a conversation while simultaneously trying to work, everyone tries to multitask in hopes it will boost their productivity and get the project completed quicker.

But in all these scenarios, something is bound to go wrong. Whether you’re bumping into a coworker because you aren’t watching where you’re walking, missing out on vital information in your work meeting, or unconsciously skipping a step or two in the project’s process, one thing is for sure, multitasking doesn’t work.

Here are a few reasons why:

It overwhelms your brain

Your brain performs at its best when you focus on one thing at a time. When you are multitasking, instead of allowing all the components of your brain to center on the task at hand, different parts of your brain are pulled in different directions. And trying to process information from multiple sources at once can ultimately leave you feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated.

Related: 6 Simple Things to Try to Help You Stay Focused at Work

It lowers your productivity

Although you might think that multitasking will increase your productivity levels, it will only just slow you down or lower the quality of your work. Sure, you might have the capability of doing a few tasks at once but doing a lot of work is different from doing effective and efficient work.

It can make you even more distracted

Have you ever started doing a chore, only to notice and get distracted by clutter on your desk or other projects? When you try to do too many things at once, you’ll often end up being distracted and left with half-finished tasks. Sticking with just one item on your to-do list at a time instead will make that list shrink a lot faster.

It will never give you the results you want

Multitasking might seem like a good idea at times, especially in a time crunch, but it seldom leads to what you are looking for. Giving your attention to one thing at a time is always the better option.

American entrepreneur and best-selling author of the book, The One Thing, Gary Keller researched and learned all the ropes about multitasking until he came to this conclusion:

“Multitasking is a lie.”1

Because truly, you can’t do two things at once. To be successful, you must put your heart, soul, and mind into the task at hand.

Centering yourself in the moment is also beneficial to your mental health. If you have a lot on your to-do list, plan out how you will be able to do one thing at a time and prioritize the most important tasks.

You might be surprised at the weight that lifts off your shoulders (and your brain) when you avoid multitasking and choose to focus on one thing at a time.

Related: 7 Ways to Adjust to Working from Home

1. Gary Keller, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. Bard Press. Texas, 2012.

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