There's no such thing as Multitasking

I used to think I was really good at multi-tasking. Moving from one task to another dozens and dozens of times a day.

What I've realized over the years though is that the end result is a lower quality of work and a feeling of anxiety and fatigue at the end of each day.

In reality, people can only do one thing at a time. And what we call multitasking is not doing more than one thing at once it's just switching between things quickly.

There is a concept called "context switching" which is really what we are doing. Every time you switch contexts or tasks your brain needs to switch from one thing to the other and it takes time for this switch to occur before you can tackle the next tasks properly.

The more tasks you switch between each day the more time you waste getting your brain switched over. For example, if it takes you 5 minutes to get your brain wired for a specific complex task if you try and work on 30 tasks in a day then that's hours of time wasted.

The fewer things you focus on in a single day the more time is actually spent being productive.

Video Version


Hey there Cam here from Training Tilt. today I wanted to talk about productivity and specifically multitasking.

I used to think that I was really good at multitasking. I could switch between things and get a lot done in a day, but then I slowly realized that that lack of focus affects your quality of work and your productivity.

Now I try not to multitask and I try and just focus on one thing at a time because, in reality, you can only do one thing at a time.

There is a concept called Context Switching which in reality is what multitasking is when you switch from one task to the other you're not actually doing more than one thing at once you just switching between them.

There's a percentage of the total time It takes to do that task that is gets dedicated to resetting your mind to the new task. If you're constantly switching the more you switch the more you time you'll spend with your brain trying to figure out what am I doing here with this task? Whereas if you just focus on one thing at a time for longer periods, you'll get more out of your productivity.

Sometimes I get myself into a bit of a state without realizing it where I've been doing lots of context switching or multitasking. For example today, I managed to get myself into this position where I've got so many Chrome tabs open. I've got one two, three, four five tabs open here, and then I've got another Chrome window over here on one of my other screens and I've got one two, three four, five six tabs open. And I've got my emails, Whatsapp, Messenger, Facebook advertising and a bunch of other stuff

All of these things means that by the end I time I get to the end of the day. I feel really fried, my brain feels fried and if I look back on it, what I have actually achieved today is not that much even though I've had all these things open.

I think that's the danger of trying to multitask too much.

What works best for me is if I just do one thing at a time and then while I'm doing that one thing I close everything else down so there isn't any other Windows out of the corner of my eye on my other screens or if you look down here, there are all of these windows and you might get a notification on one. So you'll switch over to it and you'll have to come back and then you'll lose context of what you are doing

What works for me if I just try and focus on one thing at a time, and then I don't feel frazzled by the end of the day, and then I find that I've achieved much more.

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