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Let’s face it. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get more done in less time? Think about all the other things we could find time for: getting to the gym more regularly,  getting home on time and having more time to spend with those we care the most about.

But how can we achieve this?
Very often the temptation is to multitask and zip through the to-do list by doing several things at once. In a boring meeting? Why not use that time to check on your email, update your social status or book tickets for your next flight to Melbourne? But how do you answer the question you’ve just been asked when you haven’t heard the conversation?

Or you’ve got an assignment due to hand to your boss in thirty minutes but you’ve got an urgent call from an important client who needs to speak to your right now. Do you take the call while continuing to work on the assignment?

The trouble is fragmenting our attention this way means we end up less efficient because we make up to 50% more errors and take up to 50% longer to complete our work than if we tackled each item separately.

Multitasking doesn’t work. Our brain isn’t designed to be able to focus our attention on more than one thing at a time. Attempting to multitask leads to what is called dual task interference where the brain tries to help by splitting the two tasks and alternating our attention very fast between the two hemispheres. The trouble is this is cognitively exhausting, reduces memory, depth of understanding and leads to poorer filtering of information.

What seems like a good idea to save time actually ends up costing us far more. Unless you are one of the 2% of the population who are supertaskers and use a different part of your brain to multitask.

Bottom line, multitasking doesn’t work. The ways to boost productivity is to schedule our tasks, prioritise them and allocate finite amounts of time to produce top quality focused work and then take a well-deserved brain break.

Monotasking is the key to greater productivity and efficiency.

To learn more about how you can boost your focus and achieve more, join productivity expert Angela Lockwood and myself in our special one-day events coming to Darwin, Perth and the Gold Coast this November. You can find out more about these events and register here.


Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/21897757@N00/7178835714/”>evaxebra</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/help/general/#147″>cc</a>

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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