Smiling young businesswoman doing multitasking work at workplace

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Can you really multitask

Smiling young businesswoman doing multitasking work at workplace

We all think that we are great multitaskers, but are we really being productive? Researchers state that it can kill your productivity by 80%! One study has found that only 2.5% of the population can multitask efficiently. We don’t understand that multitasking is not what we think it is. It is actually “task switching”. It is not possible to do more than one thing at a time. It is very inefficient for your brain to switch between tasks because it takes your brain several seconds to start on the new task. When you are doing this constantly it can become mentally draining. While you think you are being productive you are really decreasing focus and increasing stress. You are working harder to do things at a lower level of quality while exhausting your mental reserves. 

We may have been programmed from birth to think being busy constantly is good. But simply being busy does not necessarily mean being productive. Focus can help you meet your goals in life. The Pareto Principle is that 20% of what you do produces 80% of results. The hard thing is knowing what those activities are. You need to reflect on just what those 20% are. The best strategies are simple. Focus on 3-5 goals per day. Dedicate time to each. Leave some empty spots in your calendar to spill over. Don’t be so tightly scheduled that there is no time for emergencies or some tasks that can take longer than expected. 

Another trick is to simply remove things from your plate. After you have identified your priorities, start moving things and putting them into one of three categories. Some work can be delegated. Many of us in business still insist on doing home tasks ourselves. What we don’t understand is that our time is valuable. Groceries can be ordered and delivered. There are people who can clean your house. Learn which things can be delegated. Next you can defer. Not all tasks need to be done immediately, but there is a difference between deferring because a task can wait or because it may be uncomfortable. Try not to get the two confused. 

Thirdly, some things can be deleted. Not all we do is necessary or has a purpose at all. So, implement and constantly tweak your systems. Learn from others different systems they use to make their lives easier. Technology can also make our work more productive. Investments in systems and technology will pay for themselves, so long as you review and tweak them often to keep up your productivity and performance. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago