Right now as I sit here, I am typing this article on one computer, editing audio on another, watching Tweetdeck on an ipad, messaging colleagues on my phone and listening to Trump on the TV. I am being pinged constantly in Slack, replying to emails, and I have single tasking that I will get to…
I’m looking forward to grabbing a sandwich later today, a five-minute window when I can check my second email inbox, text people as I walk across traffic, pick up stuff for dinner tonight so that when I’m standing in the kitchen making it I can also chat to people on the phone or listen to a podcast and then fall into bed and while I’m sleeping, wake up and scroll my Instagram and check my email.
It’s called multi-tasking like a mofo.
It’s called driving yourself into the ground.
It’s called ‘this is bad for you and you must stop, you wanker’
But we all do it. And when it comes to multitasking, Aussies are among the worst. According to a study, almost three quarters of us peruse the internet while watching TV, and a third of us do it while we’re cooking dinner or on the loo. Is no place sacred?
And it’s making us sick. The science on multi-tasking is irrefutable. Not only does it make you wired and irritable, it puts you at danger of being hit by a car while texting and it drains the glucose levels in your brain so that before long you end up depleted. It also puts you at risk of depression and social anxiety, lowers your IQ, and wreaks havoc on your memory. And every time you flick from task to task, you end up losing 23 minutes. So it’s not even productive.
And then I heard about Single Tasking.
Single tasking is when you focus on one task at a time, as the name suggests, and it's the perfect solution to the brain fatigue of multi-tasking. It accepts that the brain isn't wired to focus on two things at once.
It's tough to break the habit of overloading your brain, but once you do the benefits are plentiful. It allows you to prioritise what needs to get done and helps you maintain your focus. If you schedule time to check your emails or social media, they won't monopolise your day, and the frazzled feeling you get from switching between unfinished tasks fades.