How to Stop your Multitasking and Get More Things Done

Research has found the human brain can only perform a certain number of tasks at the same time. After that, it becomes a problem. And yet, we celebrate the all-powerful multitasker at work. You know, the one who can seemingly juggle eight different tasks at the same time and still manage to get away for lunch every day. While multitasking may boost productivity in some instances, doing too much results in errors. And nobody has enough time to do things twice.

Yet, it’s difficult for many professionals to stop multitasking. It’s one of the harder habits to break. However, some professionals find a way to stay productive without multitasking. Or, at least, from multitasking the wrong way. From finishing a task before starting another … to not allowing small interruptions delay a big project, people like you have found a few tricks they can implement to make their time more productive.

If you must, multitask on different things to keep them straight  

In an interview with Entrepreneur, David Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan, said the brain’s capacity has limitations.

“When you perform multiple tasks that each require some of the same channels of processing, conflicts will arise between the tasks, and you’re going to have to pick and choose which task you’re going to focus on and devote a channel of processing to it,” Meyer said.

He says you should understand the brain can’t effectively do two complicated tasks at once. Both tasks require the same neural channels and conflict will arise. While managers and employees may believe they are finishing both tasks, one job will suffer. Such as attempting to write an e-mail while listening to co-workers speak during a meeting. You’re generally either writing or listening, but not both.

To avoid having to ask others to repeat information during the meeting or leaving the e-mail in the Draft folder, Time Management Ninja suggested professionals recognize that to get more done they need to do fewer things at the same time. The site recommended professionals take note of the following tips:

  • Finish one task before starting another
  • Clean workspaces to reduce distractions
  • Schedule tasks by using a to-do list

Each of these tips can help professionals focus on breaking their multitasking habits and be more productive. Forbes recommended professionals understand concentration is a skill and not to become discouraged if multitasking keeps happening. Managers can encourage a more productive workplace by instituting a laptop-free meeting zone, according to Forbes. Focusing on finishing one task before starting another or putting down portable gadgets during a meeting may help professionals recall information rather than having to ask a co-worker to repeat something during a presentation or forgetting to send the e-mail that is still in the Draft folder.

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