If you find yourself trying to do a hundred and one things at once, you’re a multi-tasker. You might think this is the best way to get a handle on your to-do list, but is it? According to numerous studies, the human brain is not designed to multi-task. It’s designed to concentrate on one thing at a time, until that job is done, and then move on. When you multi-task, you lose the ability to deeply concentrate. If you flit back and forth between two or more projects, it will actually take you longer to complete your tasks, and they may not be done as well. For creative types, like writers, lack of concentration on a project can mean not only decreased productivity, but decreased quality. How can I be a good writer if I don’t totally immerse myself in the world of my story?
"Without great solitude, no serious work is possible." Picasso.
Writers who have abandoned multi-tasking report the following benefits:
- Focus increased. Because he limited his projects from 15 to 2, James Mathewson says he was able to concentrate more fully.
- Writing projects were completed more quickly.
- The work became more enjoyable.
- Productivity went up.
- Creativity increased.
- In "10 Reason you need to Stop Multi-tasking" Ali reports that she made fewer mistakes when she stopped multi-tasking. She also reports that as freelance writer, clients appreciate having her full attention. So with all these benefits in mind, I am vowing from this day forth to concentrate on one writing project at a time. Here’s my plan to avoid multi-tasking and scattering my concentration:
- While I am writing, turn off email, IMs, Facebook etc. Also, don’t try to throw in another load of laundry or any other household task during my dedicated writing time. Writing time is for writing. Period.
10 Ways to Stop Multi-Tasking and Be More Effective" and "Stop multi-tasking and your writing will improve".
Do you believe you get more done when you multi-task, or do you find you get more done when you concentrate on one thing at a time?