1. Multitasking is common practice in today's world, however it goes against how our brains work.
2. If we try to multitask, we end up shifting the blood flow between different parts of the brain, never giving the brain what it needs to get a single job done properly.
3. Make it a daily routine to carve out an hour each day to focus completely on your most important work.
Imagine you are sitting on a bench engrossed in a book. I sit down beside you and interrupt you. We chat for a few minutes. When I leave, do you go back to the exact line where you left off? Not likely. You’ll go back two, three, or four paragraphs to reorient yourself and remind your brain where you are.
The same thing happens when you are on task and become distracted. Recent research shows it can take up to 23 minutes to get back into whatever you were doing.
Anytime you are engaged in an activity, the brain becomes activated and neurons begin to fire. They create electricity, which moves through them and triggers the release of chemicals. This brain activation requires a great deal of energy. Although the brain makes up only 2 percent of the body’s weight, it uses 20 percent of the body’s energy.
We deliver that energy through blood flow, which gives us the oxygen and glucose the brain uses to concentrate, problem solve, and be creative. When we are doing a task, certain parts of the brain and specific neurons are activated. Blood flow goes to that location to supply it with oxygen and nutrients so it can work.
If we task-switch and jump back and forth between activities, different parts of the brain are activated. As a result, blood flow has to move from one location to another, and that takes time. You activate one part of the brain and deliver nutrients to it, and then you shut that part down and open up another. Therefore, multitasking is actually a highly inefficient process for the brain and can lead to a great deal of wasted time in the workplace.
Try and carve out time to do single tasking every day - especially during Power Work. During this time only focus on the most important task. Once that task is done, move on to the next most important task.
Today’s New Habit: Single Tasking
At this point, you should have strategies for how to eliminate your biggest distractors, and you should be turning off all notifications during your Power Work time. However, even if we turn off all of our notifications, we can still get side tracked by trying to do too many things at once. So the next habit is to learn how to single task.
Over the next two weeks, try to single task during Power Work. Choose your most important task and do only that task until you have completed it. Once you have completed that task, you can move on to your second most important task.
We’ll check in to see how your’e doing next week.