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Texting while watching television, telephoning when driving, reading while listening to loud music, working on a presentation while sitting amidst a group of chatty people – all of us do these things but this does not mean that we are doing the best we can at each of these things.
Increases the possibility of errors
Multi-tasking has been seen to reduce productivity, increase the possibility of errors and mistakes and lower the quality of our performance. When we try to do more than one thing at the same time, we cannot give full attention to any of these things. What we actually do is divide our time and attention between various activities – as a result our performance on each activity is below par.
But if we were to concentrate on one thing at a time, focus all our efforts on just one thing, then our performance is enhanced, the quality of work is better, we are less stressed and as a consequence happier than when we were trying to juggle numerous things trying to fit each one in.
At times it is downright dangerous
Multi-tasking is a myth and no matter how hard we aspire to be supermen and superwomen, we cannot manage to do it with success. Not just that, at times it is downright dangerous as when texting or phoning while driving or while walking down a busy road – our brains are more focused on the texting and phoning so we pay less attention to traffic and other distractions around us, making us more prone to either causing an accident or be the victim of one!
On the other hand when we focus on one thing, we make less mistakes, give the task total attention and get completely involved and engaged with what we are doing – this creates better quality results that are more meaningful and satisfying. We need a shift in our thinking – we are constantly being told that multitasking is the key to success but we will actually do much better by concentrating on things one at a time and moving to the next on the priority list after finishing the previous task.
What are the things that distract you?
In order to focus, firstly try and determine what are the things that distract you. Avoid these things / activities. For example keep your phone away when you are trying to complete something – answering text messages, attending phone calls take time and attention away from the work in hand. If people’s conversation disturbs you and makes you neglect your work, then use ear-plugs to cut out the unnecessary chatter. Basically cut out all possible distracters.
Secondly and just as importantly, get totally immersed in what you are doing. Give it your full attention, get into the flow of things and you will find yourself taking pleasure in what you are doing and producing results that are fulfilling besides being of a high quality. Being fully engaged gives you a sense of total satisfaction with what you are doing. Multi-tasking divides attention and lowers quality, mono-tasking focuses and enhances output.