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5 Reasons Why You're Less Productive When You're Multitasking

Entrepreneurship

People think that when they multitask, they’re necessarily more productive.  

Studies show otherwise.

According to a group of Standford researchers, multitasking can actually add stress to your life, impair your focus, negatively affect your mood, and impact your performance.  

Despite this, however, many people still believe in the power of multitasking as a means for increasing productivity.  

They try to respond to emails while listening to a podcast and watching the latest episode of a show; or talk to a co-worker while finishing off a report and eat lunch at the same.

For sure, being able to do ten things at a time is impressive, but there isn’t a single benefit you can get out of it aside from half-assed results and divided attention.  

If you like multitasking, this SEO company in Miami will share with you the top five reasons why you should stop NOW, and instead, focus on one task at a time.

Reasons Multitasking Makes You Less Effective

It Slows You Down

People assume that multitasking allows them to work more efficiently and therefore tick off their to-do list faster, but it’s actually the opposite.  

You tend to work slower and less efficiently when working on multiple tasks at a time because of what psychologists call “task switch costs”.

People’s minds and brains were not designed to accommodate heavy-duty multitasking, so changing your focus from one task to another prevents you from going into autopilot mode. This exhausts you in the process because then you’d have to carefully remember and think about how to do your daily activities.  

And, it totally makes sense because trying to work on different things at a time forces the brain to refocus when switching between tasks. So, instead of being fully immersed in whatever it is that you’re currently doing, you end up getting distracted and working slowly as a result.  

When you focus on a single task at a time, you’re able to function more quickly and efficiently in your daily life. You don’t have to think through every detail; just go into autopilot mode and get things done.  

You Tend to Zone Out and It Affects Your Memory

exhausted woman on the phone while trying to finish a report

Multitasking prevents your brain from focusing on one task because you’re too distracted from thinking about other things, and this often results in forgetfulness and zoning out.  

The reason behind this? You don’t really give your brain a chance to process or retain new information because you’re always switching from doing one thing to another. You’re distracted. You’re not living in the moment.  

According to a research study published by the University of California, shifting from one task to another negatively impacts short-term memory.

This can your life negatively - both at work and home. Imagine talking to your partner while they’re answering emails. It’s more difficult to connect with them and have a conversation when their mind is preoccupied with doing something else.  

You’re More Likely to Make Mistakes

Important assignments aren’t things you can take for granted.  

For example, if you make soaps for a living, you can't mess up the concoctions, otherwise people might get a severe reaction from the lye. If you're a marketer, you need to focus on planning and running your client's campaigns because a single mistake could cause them to lose traffic or sales.  

Complex tasks require your full attention to complete on time. But, when you’re trying to do several things at once, you’re setting yourself up to fail. When you lack focus, you’re more likely to make careless mistakes.  

Want to work faster and get better results every time? Then focus on one task at a time.  

It Causes Anxiety

business man burnt out from multitasking

Another downside of multitasking is that it causes anxiety.  

People multitask because they think they can do more and work faster this way. But oftentimes, multitaskers already feel overwhelmed and exhausted before they’re even done.  

This is because it takes a lot of brainpower to regain your focus. Some studies suggest that it can take around 10-18 minutes to get the same level of attention from when you first started focusing on a task. So, going back and forth from one task to another means you’re becoming less and less attentive each time, resulting in poor quality work and longer task completion time.  

A group of researchers from the University of California, Irvine conducted a test that calculated the heart rates of employees who had access to the office email and those who didn’t.  

Results showed that the employees who didn’t have access to the company email while they were working experienced less stress and had a better performance overall. On the other hand, those who had access exhibited higher heart rates and were more wired-up throughout the day.  

If you want to be more productive and stress-free at work, this SEO company in Miami suggests you organize your to-dos and prioritize the tasks that require your full focus so you can get that out of the way and free your mind from thinking about it.  

Your Creativity Is Blocked

Our minds have a network of brain structures that are related to focus. One is called the default mode network, which is responsible for reviewing the past, planning for the future, and meditating. This network is active when the brain is not involved in any mental exercise.  

The other network is called the direct attention network. This group of brain regions is active when your brain is focused on a task. They help you put aside ruminations and focus on the task at hand. This is what you should be tapping into when you're trying to focus at work and want to get things done.  

When you’re focused and find yourself in the zone, ideas and concepts will just flow. During this time, you’re fully immersed in the task at hand, so you’re able to function to your fullest ability.  

However, multitasking pulls you back into default mode, which makes it extremely difficult for you to access critical thinking and creativity right when you need it.  

To achieve consistent, quality output, develop a workflow that will help you become more efficient and effective at tackling everyday tasks.  

Stop the Habit of Multitasking

Relaxed business owner of a Miami SEO company

If you feel that juggling more than one task at a time is negatively affecting both your professional and personal life, there are things you can do to build healthy habits that will increase your productivity and efficiency.  

The next time you find yourself multitasking, take a pause and quickly write down what it is that you need to accomplish for the day. Then, determine which assignment is the hardest one and try to focus on it first. Here’s how you can overcome multitasking:

  • Start slowly by limiting the number of tasks you juggle at a time. Make sure to combine a task that doesn’t require much thinking, like folding laundry or listening to a podcast, with something that requires more focus, like having a conversation or cooking.  
  • Set aside 10 minutes of your time to focus on one task before switching to the other. Once you’re able to do this, increase the time to 20, 30, or up until you’ve reached the maximum time you’re comfortable working with minimum breaks.  
  • Group similar tasks. If you can’t seem to resist the urge to multitask, try grouping together similar tasks and set a time in your day to tackle them. By organizing similar tasks together, you can do them in one go and free your mind up to accommodate other tasks.  
  • Stay away from distractions. Find a place where you can work in peace, switch off the TV, keep your phone away, and lock the doors to make sure no one interrupts you. When distraction becomes a habit, you won't be able to work to your fullest ability and tap into your creativity.  
  • Be mindful. Practice being fully present of where you are and what you’re doing. This will help you become more aware whenever you’re multitasking. Training your mind to be mindful can also help improve your ability to focus on one task at a time.  

Are You Ready to Be More Productive This 2022?

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking isn’t the key to getting more things done at a faster rate; focusing on one task at a time is!

If you’ve developed a habit of checking your phone and going through social media while making a report, checking your email in-between, and talking to your co-worker, you need to start changing this bad habit so you can be more productive and achieve consistent quality work each time.  

Digital Resource is a top Miami SEO company and we always encourage our employees to write down what they need to do for the day and focus on one task at a time. This way, they feel more satisfied and less stressed when they see all of their to-do’s ticked off at the end of the day.  

We understand that small business owners feel the need to juggle multiple tasks at once to try and get as much done within a day. But, this can burn you out in the long run and affect your company's performance.  

Allow us to handle the SEO and digital marketing side of your business, so you can focus on running your company with ease. Contact us today to know how we can help you!  

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