Yes, Single Tasking Improves Productivity

Put multitasking aside and restore calm.

(fizkes /

Everyone values productivity. With deadlines and to-do lists, the tendency is to tackle many things at once. Such an approach may offer a sense of accomplishment, yet it is more efficient to do one task at a time. So take a deep, calming breath, restore focus, and start “single tasking!”

In a world of technological beeps, screen pop-ups, and many daily responsibilities, people feel obliged to multitask. Multitasking is defined as switching back and forth between jobs, doing two or more tasks at once, or doing many things quickly one after another, according to verywell mind.

These various forms of multitasking may feel productive at the time, but they are actually less efficient. In fact, working on two tasks at once may reduce attention, comprehension, and performance. When moving from one task to the next, it is hard to tune out distractions, according to Human Communication Research

Tips to help single task
While automated tasks can be done together with other jobs, such as folding laundry and focusing on a conversation, or walking and talking, more complex tasks are best accomplished one at a time. 

It all starts with understanding priorities and focusing on the most important obligation until it is done, suggests Asana. Resist the urge to switch over to a new task unless something more important comes along.

Limiting distractions is also helpful, recommends verywellmind. Switch off the phone, turn off those distracting notifications on the screen, and seek out a quiet place to focus. If there is an urgent need to switch over, work on one job for 20 full minutes before moving attention to another job.

Practicing mindfulness daily may also help to increase focus. Mindfulness could even help identify those moments when one is multitasking without noticing.

Becoming a role model
Being a good ‘single tasking’ role model is also helpful, advises Forbes. For parents, teachers, and bosses alike, set a healthy tone by being present and attentive. If the boss at work responds to emails 24/7, including during meetings, employees will follow suit. The ideal is to find balance and be a good role model for those who are watching.

Think of single tasking as a spotlight, suggests verywell mind. When this spotlight shines in one area, it brings more clarity; and if that same amount of light were spread across a darkened room, only shadows would be seen. When this analogy applies to the mind, it reminds one to hone in, focus, and stay with that light beaming onto a task.

People’s minds are not computers with multiple tabs that remain open simultaneously, never shutting down. When the workday is over, close that tab on your mind and enjoy some well-needed rest. Treat tomorrow as another opportunity to be calm and focused by completing one task at a time.

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