Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Myth of Multi-Tasking

Tell me if this sounds familiar; you’re trying to write a blog post while at the same checking emails as they come in and posting to Facebook. In the background the TV is playing. The buzzer on the dryer goes off and while you’re in the basement folding laundry, you have a great idea for your blog post. You finish putting away clothes, feed the dog, check some more emails, and send a link to Twitter. Unfortunately, by the time you sit down to write your post, your great idea has evaporated.

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: - Stress levels decreased. In her blog post"My Anti-Multitasking Experiment", Kario says she felt calmer because she didn’t have the pressure of a hundred things to do nagging at her constantly.
- 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:
- Make a list everyday of the three most important writing tasks I need to accomplish. And then do them. These tasks should relate to my overall goals. For instance, two of my goals this year are to finish writing projects that have lingered for years, and to increase my social media presence. My daily tasks should bring me closer to those goals.

- 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.
For other great suggestions to increase concentration, check out these posts – "
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?

No comments:

Post a Comment