Multitasking is out, single tasking is in!
Multitasking can cause mistakes and oversights in your work. When you focus instead on just a single task at a time, you are able to give it undivided attention in order to avoid mistakes.
When you are single tasking, or just focusing on this single task, you can get in the zone and fully immersed in that task that you’re working on. You are able to work at a faster pace with fewer interruptions.
Single tasking can actually help your brain structure, boost your ability to focus, and help with mood and emotional regulation. Single tasking can help you be more efficient when you work, improve the quality of your work, and decrease stress while improving focus and increasing creativity.
I recently decided I need a hobby just for me. Something to get the creative juices flowing. I decided to learn hand lettering. I got myself some fancy pens and downloaded some worksheets, and I’ve been practicing!
With my new focus on hand lettering, I can tell you what I’m NOT focusing on: multi-tasking. *Gasp*. Yes, I said what I said!
Let’s normalize single-tasking.
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Start and complete one task at a time. If you are creating content, focus only on that. Do not stop to check your email, switch your laundry, log your receipts, or another non-related task. Fight that urge!
Why? Focusing on one single task will help you get more done in your day AND boost your brain! For real.
Shifting tasks takes your mind time. It has to adjust and re-focus every time you switch what you’re doing. Though it might feel like you’re being more productive when you’re tackling little bits of a bunch of things, that isn’t usually the case!
Single tasking allows your brain to focus more deeply on what you’re doing. You’re more able to reach a state of flow– that zen state where you feel totally in tune with whatever task you’re working on. I’ve found myself in that flow state with my hand lettering recently! That’s what inspired me to really dig into this idea!
In addition to the focus bonus you get from single tasking, it can literally benefit the structure of your brain. MRI scans prove that performing more than one task at once decreases the brain density in the anterior cingulate. The anterior cingulate cortex is the part of the brain that’s responsible for emotional expression, mood regulation, and even focus!
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When I learned that slowing down and getting focused on one thing could give my brain a boost, I was surprised! I was also surprised to learn how challenging it was to get into single tasking mode. I found “chunking” my tasks into 20 minute segments to be extremely helpful. I was able to deep dive for 20 minutes, while also knowing I wasn’t likely to miss too many emails.
Do you practice single tasking? Give it a try and let me know what you think, send me a DM!
[00:00:00] Hi. Hello. Welcome back to the Mamas Making More podcast. Today’s episode, I want to talk to you about something. Maybe you’ve heard about it, maybe you haven’t. But today what I want to talk about is something called single tasking. So I constantly am hearing about people in the online industry and just in life in general, talking about being super busy and doing all of the things.
[00:00:20] And lately it feels like multitasking has even become somewhat of like a buzzword. People glorify it, this ability to juggle multiple tasks at once. Which I get as a mom, but if you really stopped to think about it is multitasking really the most efficient way to get things done? What I do know to be true is that single tasking, just focusing on one single task at a time, that can actually have many benefits over multitasking. So that’s really what I want to share with you today is to kind of talk about the benefits of maybe backing off from multitasking and kind of embracing this, single tasking.
[00:00:56] So the first thing, the first benefit [00:01:00] that I see to single-tasking is an increase in productivity. When you’re multitasking, you’re really constantly switching back and forth between tasks that can slow you down and cause you to lose momentum in the original task that you’re trying to get done. When you focus instead on just a single task at a time, you are able to give it some undivided attention.
[00:01:22] And then you’re able to put all of your energy into completing that one task. To me, this level of concentration and focus, it allows you to work more efficiently and effectively because you’re not having all these distractions that come with multitasking. When you’re doing this single tasking, or just focusing on this single task, you can like really get in the zone where you’re fully like immersed in that, task that you’re working on. You’re able to work at a faster pace with fewer interruptions.
[00:01:49] So this makes me think of taking a trip in a car. If you think of multitasking as choosing to take a route through a busy downtown area. The speed limit might be [00:02:00] changing. You have to stop for pedestrians crossing. There certain like roads might be one way roads. You have to stop and turn left before you could turn right again. You have to stop for all kinds of stop signs or red lights. So your brain and your body has to be on super high alert. So you can switch those directions or speed as you need. And then once the car stops, it takes a little bit of time for that car to get back up to the speed that it was originally at.
[00:02:22] In contrast to that. If you think about single tasking as choosing to drive a, route on an empty freeway in general, freeways are straight and usually have a pretty consistent speed limit. So, if you wanted to, you could set your cruise control. You could feel relaxed, you could get into a groove and you really wouldn’t have to make multiple decisions and stop and start again and let your car slow down and speed back up. You’re really doing a constant coasting.
[00:02:47] That freeway route, it would be a much easier and faster trip to get to your destination and would definitely take a lot less brain power because you were just kind of coasting on there. So anyone who knows me, back in college [00:03:00] probably finds this analogy really funny because I grew up in a super small town, did not have freeways. And so I was terrified to drive on freeways when I got to college. Even when they’re empty, they gave me major anxiety.
[00:03:11] So single tasking, it can also really boost your productivity, by helping you prioritize your work. If you’re juggling multiple tasks and your brain is like ping-ponging between them, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of what’s important. If you’re focused on just one task at a time, you can really prioritize your work more effectively and make sure that you’re handling the most important tasks first. This helps you make this progress, this forward progress towards your goals a little bit more quickly. And I know for me, it helps me feel more accomplished and definitely less stressed.
[00:03:43] Now multitasking, it can actually be this recipe for mistakes and oversights in your work. When you’re single-tasking you can give yourself the time to double check your work and be sure that everything is correct, you’re already in that one single zone. This can help you catch any errors or things that you may have [00:04:00] overlooked, before they become a problem. It can also help you show, like what areas you could improve in. If you take the time to focus on one task at a time, you’re able to give yourself that space and the energy that you need to do that best quality work and have that higher quality of output of whatever it is that you are working on at that time.
[00:04:19] Also under the better quality work benefit is that when you’re focused on just that one single task at a time, you’re able to give it your full creative energy. When you’re multitasking your brain, it’s doing that ping pong thing. And then between the multiple tasks. Which it often can make it harder to come up with new ideas or to get those creative juices flowing.
[00:04:40] I’ve also heard it referred to as having a lot of mental clutter when you’re multitasking, which I definitely can relate to that. But when you’re single tasking, you can be fully engaged. You could have your brain in that full engagement and get all of those creative juices really flowing. I personally don’t feel like I’m really a very creative person by nature. [00:05:00] So single-tasking definitely gives me that extra advantage to, get some more creativity when I’m working just on a single task.
[00:05:07] Okay. Now let’s talk about stress. I definitely can get stressed and overwhelmed. Multitasking can be a source of stress and anxiety for some people, since it requires you to constantly switch again during this ping pong between tasks. And keeping track of multiple things at one time. Personally, I know that this makes me feel out of control when I’m able to just focus on a single task, I’m able to reduce my stress by simplifying and just not feeling out of control because I’m, ping-ponging between tasks.
[00:05:38] Also by single tasking rather than multitasking, you can give yourself that ability to be all in on that one task at hand. This helps you to stay calm and control and hopefully bring that greater sense of accomplishment.
[00:05:52] Another important point is that single tasking can improve your focus. When you’re multitasking. Your [00:06:00] attention is obviously divided between multiple tasks and this can make it difficult to stay focused and can also lead to distraction and procrastination. Hello, totally guilty of this.
[00:06:11] When you’re trying to multitask your attention, it’s constantly being pulled in these different directions, making it really hard to stay focused and concentrate on completing one task at a time.
[00:06:21] When you focus on just one task at a time, your brain can stay fully engaged and you can give it your undivided attention, which it can help you improve your concentration and attention span. Single tasking also helps you avoid the major pitfalls of that constant task switching of multitasking. That’s a mouthful. Each time you switch, your brain needs time to adjust to that new set of requirements. And that can really cause distractions and delays. By focusing instead on one task at a time, you can avoid that negative effects of task switching and stay more focused on the task at hand.
[00:06:57] Perhaps my most favorite thing is that [00:07:00] single-tasking allows you to break your workload into smaller, more manageable pieces. For me, when I’m trying to multitask, it gets overwhelming to keep track of everything that needs to be done. By zeroing in on one task at a time, it breaks your workload down into smaller, more manageable pieces, and that can really help you stay on track and make progress towards that goal.
[00:07:19] I had a business coach who would tell me to write out my list of tasks and then chunk it out. And she would also call this the dump and chuck. This more than anything has increased my productivity so much.
[00:07:31] I want to challenge this common idea that multitasking is the best way to get things done, that you’re glorifying being busy and that you should be doing all of these things together. That being able to juggle so many things is the way to go. I really think that it can be very counterproductive. Single tasking, it can help you be more efficient when you work, improve the quality of your work. It can really decrease that stress, improved focus and increased creativity
[00:07:59] Okay. So I [00:08:00] want to know, next time you’re tempted to multitask. What if you instead tried to single task, like I would love for you to tackle just one single thing and let me know in the DMs. Let me know. Did this help you increase your productivity? If you found that useful or like any useful nuggets in this episode, could you do me a huge favor? Screenshot it, share it to your stories, tag me @melyssamunday or @ mamasmakingmore, this will help other moms find this podcast so I can spread the word about how awesome an online business could be for them.
[00:08:32] That’s all for this episode. Thanks for being here and see you in the next one.