Quit Multitasking and Start Focusing

Michele Warg
Posted by in Administrative & Clerical Services

Human multitasking is not uncommon in the workforce. It's easy to be interrupted by a wide variety of tasks while you're trying to accomplish a specific job. Most people have learned to adapt and can check their email, address coworkers, answer phone calls, and perform the tasks their jobs require—and, seemingly, all at the same time. The problem is that for most people, splitting your attention among several tasks at one time means your work on all the tasks is likely to suffer. Staying focused is not always easy, but it's essential to maintaining your productivity.

Human multitasking at work is more accurately defined as task switching. Instead of doing several tasks simultaneously, you're actually constantly moving your focus back and forth between different tasks. As a result, nothing gets your full attention, and you're prevented from doing your best work. Human multitasking consumes more time and energy than you might realize. It makes you more prone to mistakes, and it can decrease your productivity by up to 40 percent.

Learning how to tune out interruptions while you're trying to work can be a challenge. According to Forbes Magazine, it is absolutely necessary to learn how to focus your attention. Some complicated jobs require deep thought and analytical skills. If you can't avoid human multitasking and direct all your attention to those tedious tasks, you may be able to get the job done, but it will more than likely not be your best work. Sometimes a project or assignment reaches a particular critical moment when you must meet a deadline. When this happens, focusing on one task is crucial to success.

To stop human multitasking and start focusing on your administrative or clerical duties, allocate a specific amount of time to important tasks. It is not always possible to devote yourself to staying focused on one project all day, so set aside a given amount of time every day to figure it out. Keep your door closed or find a quiet conference room to work when you do not want to be disturbed. Let your colleagues know you need some quiet time. Turn off your phone, avoid emails, forward your office calls to voice mail, and keep your desk clean and clear of clutter.

You might think that you can get more done with human multitasking, but studies have shown that the opposite is true. Jobs are left undone, and you can't give your best effort if you're multitasking. It's best to slow down, stay focused on one thing at a time, and decrease the stress.


(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)


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