If you want to be more productive, avoid multitasking
For some years now, knowing how to do more things at the same time is a source of pride and indeed, when we fail to do two things at the same time we are the object of ridicule.
In common parlance, so-called “multitasking” has become synonymous with efficiency.
In reality it is a false myth and, personally, I am a detractor of multitasking, at least when it comes to important things.
I can be multitasking when I run listening to music, or I wash the dishes and listen to a podcast. Although in these simple actions, I realize that my attention is divided, it is not a big problem precisely because they are simple actions and not of intellect.
Multitasking does not exist : in reality we are just passing from one activity to another very quickly. We are doing task switching rather than multi-tasking.
We are replying to an email and at the same time we cannot resist the temptation to reply to the message on the phone. We therefore fragment our attention, passing from the mail (and from a certain type of context) to the telephone (another context) and then return to the mail. The common place is that, by doing more than one activity at a time, we will save time, but scientific studies indicate the opposite. Once we get back to the mail our mind and our attention takes time before remembering what we were writing and why. Interrupting the flow and concentration means wasting time (when we think we gain it) and the quality of our work suffers. We think we are more productive, but scientific studies indicate that working at multiple things together reduces productivity by at least 60 percent, lowers the intelligence quotient by more than ten points and increases the margin of error in the execution of activities.
To increase attention span and productivity, one of the solutions suggested by Larry Rosen (professor emeritus of psychology at California State University) is the “technological pause”. Encourage students and workers to take a couple of minutes to check for alerts, messages and other messages after 15 minutes of non-distracted work. The best way to stay focused is to silence the phone by turning it face down to avoid viewing visual notifications, turning off email alerts and closing down distracting websites.
It has also been shown that after about 30 minutes, concentration begins to decrease, so it’s important to take short breaks to stay focused on the main task.
IThe results also showed that interruptions can be surprisingly short – just a couple of seconds for some tasks – to achieve this effect.
Enter the flow: be present here and now
The telephone and the internet are some of the greatest distractions of our time. But this also happens not only in the workplace.
We often check the phone even when we are having dinner with our family or friends. We are unable to be present in the moment and pay attention to the people around us. In this way we are not aware of missed conversations and the quality of time and relationships is lowered.
Being present here and nowis one of the conditions of authentic happiness. Why deprive us of it
Articoli pubblicato su APA American Psychological Association:
versione in italiano – Il metodo Ikigai – Héctor García, Francesc Miralles
versione in italiano – Distracted mind. Cervelli antichi in un mondo ipertecnologizzato – Gazzaley, Rosen