Are you good at multitasking?

Working from home in recent years has blurred lines between personal and professional lives and subjected mortals to Multitasking more than ever. While it is a popular area of interest in computer sciences, are Humans even capable of Multitasking day to day activities? Reality is Humans are not wired to do more than one thing at a time, when we think we are Multitasking we are actually switching tasks rapidly

Listening to music while working out and watching television while munching snacks has low stakes but how about texting while driving. Switching complex tasks which require active attention makes us less efficient and can be dangerous as well. Over time constant task switching makes us a poor learner as we are not able to focus, our brain is not able to fade out distractions and stay engaged on single activity.

Means to accomplish several tasks with precision and focus and still be efficient is by adopting doctor mindset. In a given day most doctors are able to attend to several appointments, however when they are with a patient they are able to tune out past and future and give their undivided attention to person with them. We do not have to join medical college for that, mindfulness activities like Meditation, journal writing, community service and yoga are great way to retrain ones brain from urge to Multitask

Notifications be it from Computer or Phone messages or Social Media they are all competing for our attention and encouraging multitasking. Don’t be a colleague texting or answering emails while in a meeting. Review global settings and turn off notifications for all non-urgent applications, Apple recently introduced a “Focus” feature on iPhones for quick help and cut down on distractions. Turn off unnecessarily chimes that interrupt, mark oneself as “do not disturb “when performing complex activity. We can take charge of when we want to review group notifications while maintaining flow of work and thereafter prioritizing response to what is important.

Planning tasks ahead is also a good way to avoid succumbing to Multitasking situations. A simple TODO list on paper or a device helps, striking each activity as one completes it will bring sense of accomplishment and motivate to keep up the pace. Allocate time of the day in calendar for meetings, focus times when one will be dedicating unwavering attention to a single task. It’s good idea to even plan breaks ahead of time to stay energized through the day. Postpone urge to attend to social media and messages until break time.

At home, set ground rules and no device zones for family like Dining table. Laugh and relish moments with family members and friends instead of attending to digital distractions.  Sports and board games are not just good bonding exercise, they also help in living in moment and help you stay focused on single activity.  There will be situations when one must attend to an urgent tasks in between of others but stay vigilant and watch oneself of not letting it be a habit

We are living in era of digital distractions and highly susceptible to lack of focus, mistakes and miss action around us due to multitasking. First step to solution is acknowledging ones impulse to multitask, We can win this game with healthy balance of mindfulness, notification and planning ahead

Amit Jain

Passionate about Security, Information Technology and Supply Chain, Author is Physical and Mental Health enthusiast. Lives in Atlanta with wife and 2 kids. Facebook

5 thoughts on “Are you good at multitasking?

  • Anirudh Agarwal

    Gud words I accepted ur opinion…

  • So true.. we can’t avoid multitasking in this modern age but we can manage this better .. family time, taking breaks in between is something we all should do especially WFH resulted in long working hours ..

  • Muhammad Bilal

    Great article! I agree that modern society makes it hard to concentrate with everything competing for our valuable attention. I find that the practice of martial arts helps me calm my mind and alow me moments of focus in my mental storms.

  • Holly Reusing

    What a great article Amit. Have seen lots of info lately on the benefits of single focus and even the possible detriments of chronic multitasking in later brain development. Great thoughts!

  • Sanjeev Kumar

    It’s good article, appreciate your point of view. 👍


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