I’ve talked briefly about single tasking here on the blog before, but I think it’s worthy of a post all of its own. It’s something I’m really trying to focus on in my own life at the moment, and whenever I do I’m reminded of all the benefits it brings. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!
First things first – it’s probably worth describing what single tasking is! It’s pretty much as described in the name – when you focus solely on one task at a time. The opposite of multi-tasking, where you try and undertake 2, 3 or maybe even more tasks at once. So, what are the benefits of single tasking?
Switching Tasks Takes Energy and Time
We’re taught that multi-tasking is a more efficient, effective way to work but that may not always be the case. Attempting to complete a few tasks at once generally requires switching back and forth between those tasks, and each time we do that, we lose momentum and use more energy. It takes additional brain power to get back into the swing of what we were doing, making it less effective than we probably realise.
Alternatively, single tasking allows us to fully focus on the task at hand without distractions, and generally allows the tasks to get completed quicker.
Single Tasking is More Productive
This ties neatly into the point above – by saving brain energy and time we are able to be more productive. Our brains aren’t designed to do multiple things at once – at least not to any real level of completeness. Constantly flitting between tasks means we’re more likely to make errors and to feel stressed, and the end result is a poorer output.
Single Tasking Promotes Discipline
Our natural inclination is to do lots of things at once, so focusing on single tasking does take some discipline. It means really exercising some self-control, and the more of that we can bring into our lives the better! Single tasking helps us to deal with distractions too, including social media, noisy colleagues, you name it. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s definitely worthwhile!
Single Tasking Brings Mindfulness
Focusing on one task at a time can help really bring us into the present, which promotes mindfulness. It allows you to fully commit to that task, which can bring a sense of calm to our day. It also allows us to appreciate what it is we’re doing – more at home than work maybe – because we’re not splitting our focus a million ways at once. As a result, it can make us happier as it introduces simplicity into our day. We can always use more of that!
Some Single Tasks To Try
- Eat meals without looking at your phone
- Watch tv or a movie without any distractions
- Use one browser window at a time
- Check your emails only at a designated time
- Read articles until completion