You Think You Can...But You Really Can’t
When I learned that today, February 21 is Single Tasking Day, it reminded me of what many of us think we can do but really can’t...Multitask.
Studies have shown that while we think we can, for example, write a post and handle the calls coming in from our seller, and skim our email and answer texts...we can’t.
In fact, we’re doing more harm than good. We’re more productive if we focus on one task at a time.
Here are a few other interesting tidbits for you to tuck away the next time you want to try to do several things at one time…
~Besides not really remembering or missing details of what you just read, you could actually be hurting your short-term memory when you bounce back and forth from one task to another.
~You’re not saving time. Trying to do more than one task can take more time than if you chose to complete one before going on to the next.
~Multi-tasking while eating could actually cause you to eat more.
~You miss out on life! When we’re out on our walks my phone is there to take pictures or if someone needs to reach me. Had I been checking texts or email while out on my walks I would have missed out (and walked on) a coral snake, a young boy fishing with his father, and the buds on the trees signaling that Spring is on the way.
~Of course, we all know the dangers of texting and driving but doing anything else while driving diverts your attention from focusing on the road.
The same is true for walking. How many potholes or cars have you almost hit because you were doing the iPhone Prayer.
I like to think of tasking-single and multi- like the RAM (Random Access Memory) we have on our computer. RAM is like our short term memory. The more files we have open the less RAM/short term memory we have for the task we’re working on. Single-tasking closes all but the one file, giving us more short term memory to work on whatever it is we’re working on.
Here’s what I’ve done to help me…
~I’m working on mindfulness (Thank you, Ron and Alexandra Seigel )
~When I’m out at a restaurant and my phone will not fit in my purse, I don’t put it on the table. It goes on my chair by my leg (so I won’t leave without it)
~When something comes up that needs immediate attention or focus, I tell myself to Work the problem.
So many other thoughts will start popping off in my head but what I focus on is what can I do now that will tackle the problem. This removes trying to affix blame or trying to think about how to prevent whatever happened from happening again.
~For everyday tasks at my computer, I’ve started using something called OneTab.
This is an extension that’s available on Google Chrome and Firefox. What it does is allows me to save all of the tabs I’m working on under One Tab. This saves on memory on your computer AND allows you to focus on the One Tab while not losing the others.
~When I have a lot of different tasks that need to get done, I’ll often set a timer. This allows me to focus on the task, knowing that I can move on at the end of the timed period.
~ Reward myself. This worked for me in grad school when I had to read very dry books. I would reward myself with something that I wanted...like a bowl of ice cream!!
We can all work on this for ourselves as well as with our children. If you or your child has ADHD, this may offer some suggestions.