Lets start with this I DO NOT single-task all the time. However in a world where multi-tasking is a sought after job skill, distraction is everywhere and technology is starting to take over…. I’m starting to see the benefits of doing just one thing at a time.
What are the benefits of single tasking?
MORE focus, accuracy and efficiency to name a few, some would even say better health. LESS stress, mental fatigue and cortisol (a stress hormone that can cause can damage the memory region of the brain among other not so fun side effects like weight gain.)
What should I single task?
It’s pretty easy actually, any mentally taxing things (budgeting, writing a paper, or a presentation for work….work in general) need your focus. If you give it all of your focus it will get done better, faster and with less stress. Some things are more physical (vacuuming, cooking dinner, running) and don’t take a lot of mental work (Please be careful while running though, keep your music down low and pay attention to your surroundings!) and are easily done while watching a show or listening to some music.
Other things are fine to multitask some days and other days your brain just needs the break. I find this with workouts and cooking. Pre parenting I ALWAYS had music on while I ran or work out. These days I rarely use music. I find the peace of the natural ‘city’ sounds while running calming, I don’t need more crazy in my day. It’s the same with my workouts, some days I need the music to drown out the sounds of my kids ( I work out at home) or just because I want something to jam out to. Other times my brain does not need any more noise so I don’t….
How do I do it?
Easy, when your working on the budget turn off the TV. When you feel overwhelmed after work, turn off the radio (I normally do for 5-10 min then turn it on.) When you need to focus on the task at hand either close your web browser or maximize the tab your working on.
The silence will be awkward at 1st even uncomfortable…its ok. It will get more and more normal and pretty soon you will find you don’t miss the noise. Also when you choose to watch something you will find yourself choosing something you really want to see.
Lastly you might just find you have MORE time on your hands. Then instead of needing to multi-task you can just sit down with the family and ENJOY a book/movie/show.