Unitasking. No, I am not sure it is a real word. Yes, I am writing a blog all about it anyway.
For some reason, society has decided that multitasking is a skill we should all strive to master our time management. It is often listed as a requirement on job postings. Professionals often brag about how many things they accomplished at the same time. On the flip side, it is frequently the justification for making simple mistakes, and is the reason so many auto accidents happen due to distracted driving.
I’d like to propose that we shift the focus, and begin showing some love for the idea of Unitasking. It really is the better of the two choices. Here is why I strive each day to be a terrible multi-tasker and a terrific unitasker.
- Research. Who are we to argue with the scientists? Research has overwhelmingly proven that multitasking really is a myth. As in, not possible. What we are doing is task shifting; start.stop.start.stop. This is not a good strategy when driving, or exercising. Why would it be a good idea with task management?
- Time. Here is the irony. People multitask because they are trying to save time. In reality, when we multitask we end up spending more time overall than if we completed each task one by one. And I am certain we can all agree we need more time, not less of it.
- Energy. The start/stop/start process is not efficient, and actually can be physically and mentally exhausting. Save that energy for your creative, deep work. Energy is a limited resource, just like time.
- Accuracy. There is nothing I dislike more than making mistakes; Well, maybe being late, but regardless. The more we multitask, the more we are at risk of making mistakes…stupid mistakes that do not leave a good impression upon others.
- Relationships. I have two little boys, and they are very aware when I am not fully focused on them and our “let’s pretend” game of Star Wars. A Storm Trooper should not be sending a text or checking email while fighting the light side. When we pay partial attention to those we are engaged with, we are sending a message that they are not important to us. Enough said.
When do you tend to fall into the trap of multitasking? How can you begin to change that habit and maximize your time, energy, and relationships? I’ll be the first to admit it is not easy, but I promise you the return on investment is high. Fulfilling my role as a Storm Trooper is truly one of the most important tasks I have these days, and I have only a limited amount of time to do that right. Those emails and text messages can wait.
To Your Productivity-