Multi-tasking decreases productivity?

I vividly remember working my first job as a server. It was my initial taste of multi-tasking in a high-pressure environment. Is it time to refill waters at table nine? Table six is giving me the stink eye, I should really check up on them. But maybe I should wipe down all those empty tables first. Hold on a second, where is that peach bellini I punched in five minutes ago?


Multi-tasking applies to all realms of work – not just the restaurant industry. Learning how to successfully juggle all aspects of whatever field you’re in (or life in general) can be a huge challenge – in fact, it’s nearly impossible.

Did you know only 2% of people can actually multitask successfully?

You seem surprised. According to recent statistics (take these numbers with a grain of salt), this small percentage of our population can actually multitask while increasing the productivity. The other 98%? Well, trying to take on too many things at once can actually do more harm than good. Check out this infographic – it tells you all about the detrimental effects of multi-tasking, including lowering your IQ level.

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How do you manage your workload if multi-tasking is less help and more harm? There are only so many hours in the day, with way too many things docked on our to-do list.

Have no fear – a list of suggestions is here!


Build a solid to-do list.
Staying organized is key in making sure everything gets done without feeling overwhelmed. Mapping out a to-do list allows you to allocate specific times in your schedule for certain activities, instead of worry about juggling multiple tasks at once. The best thing about a to-do list? Feeling accomplished once every item has a nice big fat check mark beside it.

There’s an app for that.
Have a hard time bringing a pen and paper around? Well, that’s no excuse. There’s an app for that! If you find yourself having a hard time bringing your to-do list around with you, there are plenty of choices in the computer application market to fulfill your organizational needs. Some apps also have the ability to sync with your smartphone or through an online cloud service, literally allowing you to access it anywhere, anytime.

Your to-do list tally is adding up, and you feel like you’re getting no where. There is a constant looming presence, but you’re finding it impossible to invest yourself in an important project because you’re overwhelmed with everything else you have to do. The simple answer to this dilemma is prioritize. You’ll never feel at peace until you’ve wrapped up that super important assignment for school or work. Just get it over and done with, and the weight will surely be lifted off your shoulders. Once your big projects are finished, you can pummel through the less significant tasks (that are still equally important to complete!).

Set realistic deadlines.
Be honest. You need to set realistic deadlines not only for yourself, but for whoever you’re completing work for. Yes, it’s sometimes tempting to try to impress an employer by promising to finish a report in two weeks – but maybe you actually need an extra week or two on top of that to trim the roughness around the edges. Give yourself ample time to complete things to your personal standards.

Learn how to say no.
Us ambitious types love to get our feet wet in new ventures. But sometimes, we find ourselves involved in too many things at once. Oops? Although I’m the number one promoter of positivity, you need to know your limits. It’s okay to say no! It’s not fair to yourself and the other party if you don’t have the time to do a good job on something. Know what your mental and physical capacities are, and give yourself some ample buffer room.

Internet security

Turn off the technology.
Take a break from reddit. Disconnecting yourself (temporarily) from your smartphone, television and the internet will provide a significant boost in productivity (as proven by the infographic research above). It’s way too easy to give yourself an occasional break to check your phone for a new message or missed call. But simply putting the phone back in your hands leads to a number of tantalizing temptations. Do yourself a favour and turn off your tech when you’re working on a project with a tight deadline. On the bright side? Tuning back into the digital world once you’re finished will be a real treat.


Have healthy and filling snacks on hand.
You are what you eat. When you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap. You lose focus, can’t sit still and will have a hard time investing yourself into one thing, if any at all. Make sure you have healthy snacks on hand when you’re up late working on something that will eat up a lot of time (no pun intended).

Schedule some time to R&R.
Save some time for yourself. No matter how crazy your days get, it’s important to block off a portion of your day to clear your mind. It can be something as simple as reading a book, watching a movie, or getting a massage. Just make sure this time is uninterrupted, and all about you.


One thought on “Multi-tasking decreases productivity?

  1. Pingback: 2013 is my year to focus | Headed for Healthy

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