It’s around this time of year that our tendency to multitask reaches ultimate heights. And while we all might fall victim to the tendency to do two or three (try 20) things at once, juggling too much at once might be doing more harm than good for . your productivity.
While in theory, you may be drawn to multitasking because it, by its very definition, allows you to tackle multiple things at once and thus tick more things off of your to-do list at a supposedly quicker pace, the tendency to multitask might actually be slowing you down by causing you to feel more distracted and unfocused on each individual task that you’re working on.
That’s where single-tasking comes in. The opposite of multitasking, single-tasking is exactly what it sounds like: doing no more than a single task at a time to ensure that you’re doing it to the best of your abilities. That means cutting out distractions like your phone, extra tabs on your internet browser, or your email notifications. By removing all of the extra “noise,” so to speak, you ultimately get each task done faster and more effectively since you give yourself a chance to tackle it in one fell swoop.
If you’re worried that tackling one thing at a time will leave you struggling to manage your time well enough to get to everything on your list, here’s a tip: enlist the help of a timer to help you stay on track. Allot a certain amount of time to each task on your to-do list based on how long you estimate it will take you to complete, and then time yourself at the start of each new task to help remind you when it’s time to start wrapping it up and moving on to the next thing on your list.