How Multitasking is Hindering Your Productivity and Happiness

A former restaurant worker, I honed what I thought was a huge asset in multitasking. Later, upon reflection, I realized I was not the master-multi-tasker I had touted myself as on all those job interviews. After all, even as a server, pouring a cup of coffee while simultaneously grabbing a dessert out of the kitchen window is rarely a good idea and, at worst, can result in getting burned - literally. Ouch!

The allure of multitasking is appealing to mompreneurs because we fill several different roles throughout the day. The promise, and ultimate lie, of multitasking is that we are getting more done… we’re always busy! But instead, we feel:

  • Depleted at the end of the day

  • Guilt for not following through on a particular task

  • Overwhelmed that another day went by without getting further ahead

  • Feeling stuck in a cycle of mediocrity

  • Wondering if our kids our suffering due to our scattered focus

  • Knowing that you’re starting tomorrow with things left on your list from today

If you are ending your day feeling any of those, I guarantee you were not completely focused on a single task and moving between tasks upon completion only. You were multitasking.

By definition, how can anything be done well when we’re multitasking? Neither task has our entire focus. It’s completely counterproductive!

Science supports this claim: Multitasking is Killing our Brains, Multitasking can reduce our productivity by as much as 40% and adding media to the mix causes even greater diminishing returns on our ability to focus.

The antidote to multitasking is monotasking. Also called unitasking or single-tasking. It is the “carrying out of one task at a time.” Like everything hot right now, monotasking is about minimalism. And the secret to successful monotasking is your ability to manage transitions. Moving quickly and effectively from one task to the next, taking breaks accordingly to reset your focus, is key to higher quality output and personal satisfaction. All those years ago, what I had thought was my mastery of multitasking was just my innate Activator Strength showing up, making my ability to do just this, easier than many people. 

That’s the theory, now let’s address the reality. Because, you know, in theory my kids would only ever have organic fruits and veggies and fresh pressed juices made at home; when the reality is that I shared a Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino with my 4 year old at Target last weekend.

The real world practice can still include checking your email while boiling the macaroni or taking a bluetooth voice memo to yourself on your way to school pick up. But, tasks that generate growth or sustainability in your business or deepen your relationships (park time with kiddos, couch time with your sweetie) call for monotasking.

It’s necessary to note that monotasking is a single component of a larger strategy that includes: clarity, effective planning and follow through. Check out #3 on my printable “8 Ways to Tame Your To Do List” for an easy way to start monotasking now.

Need help around monotasking, clarity, planning and follow through? Let’s hop on a free Jump Start call and see how I can help!