I recently had a conversation with a client who told me that one of her greatest strengths is that she is fantastic at multi-tasking! New neuroscience research proves that multi-tasking is next to impossible.
You mean to say that I can’t check my email, work on the report, and have a meeting and IM all at the same time? That is exactly what I am saying. Take multi-tasking off of your resume, because you are not as good at it as you think.
Brain scientists will argue that we cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. Think about the last time that you multi-tasked.
- Do you remember what you were doing?
- How present were you?
- How good was the quality of work that you produced?
When we think we are paying attention, in reality we are not present at all. Between the rapid shifting of tasks you are shifting the parts of your brain that you are using. And that shifting expends a lot of physical energy.
How can I create more brain space to accomplish what I need to get done today? Here are some great tips that will help you avoid the pitfall of multi-tasking mode:
- Write out a list of the next day’s tasks the night before
- Prioritize your list in terms of activities or tasks that take up the most brain space
- Tackle the bigger tasks first thing, while you are fresh
- When you check your email, check your email, don’t do it while you are in the middle of other projects
- Allot time for each of your tasks, even if it is a few minutes
- Set alarms for yourself to keep yourself on task
Avoid information overload and brain cramps by deploying some of the ideas above. Let us know if, and, or how it helps both your brain and your levels of productivity.