The Good Daily

The problem with multitasking

While you’re reading this, what else are you doing? Own up - Are you walking somewhere, eating your lunch, on a conference call, in a meeting, checking Facebook alerts…? How many tabs are open on your computer?

Nowadays, we defer so much to keeping an eye on things, that we have become very distractible. The ability to have, hold and find information, anywhere at anytime means that we are more often than not, used to multi-tasking and concentrating on several things at one time.

Busy yes, but are we achieving anything by working this way? Are we actually being productive?

Since the industrial revolution there has been lots of research into a working person’s day for optimal productivity. How and when we work has been just as important as where we work, and in the technological age, it’s even easier to map our daily routine and patterns. What we’re finding is that while technology does make our lives easier, it can also be (amongst other things) a huge distraction, causing any productivity benefits gained to be lost.

Our obsession with multitasking means that we are constantly interrupting ourselves and others, reducing our effectiveness, focus and brain functionality. A recent study discussed in Psychology Today demonstrated the true influence that distractions have to disrupt your tasks, leading to mistakes and an inability to refocus quickly. This applied to even the quickest of disruptions. What impact do common interruptions like phone calls, colleagues or email notifications have on our daily office tasks? 

That’s why we were intrigued this week by a blog post from ‘Because I’m addicted’ exploring the idea of ‘single tasking’. The author, Geri Hirsch discusses her challenge for December about moving away from the ‘adultness’ of trying to multitask everything, all the time. She’s committed herself to a full month of focusing on one thing at a time.  Meaning no using her phone during TV or films, no cleaning while brushing her teeth, all in the name of trying to connect to the exact thing in front of her one at a time. This wellbeing challenge is an excellent example of how we can all take the time to reenergise properly. Using tasks as deliberate actions, and being in the moment with whatever we are doing - from the mundane daily chores to being with the ones we love.  

Single tasking challenge is on!

Inspired by Geri and her challenge, we decided that we’d like to give it a shot too! Our Lily Howe, Marketing Executive, has volunteered – having recognised many of the multi-tasking behaviours in Geri’s blog! How will she go?! Will work or home be the hardest place to focus? From this week Lily will take on the ‘Single Tasking Challenge’ for 7 days.

We’ll bring you her results and insights next week.

To keep up with all the happenings from the world of wellbeing, make sure you follow us on Twitter - @gooddayatwork 

Click here to sign up to Good Day at Work™ to write a comment.

Latest health & wellbeing stories

Dec 13, 2016

Presents of presence

in Health and Wellbeing
Dec 13, 2016

Why music for wellbeing rocks

in Health and Wellbeing
Dec 08, 2016

How Will You Spend Your Happiness Day?

in Health and Wellbeing
Dec 01, 2016

Mindfulness for a happy and healthy festive season

in Health and Wellbeing
Dec 01, 2016

The problem with multitasking

in Health and Wellbeing

Cary CooperGood Day at Work™

The new wellbeing resources hub founded by @profcarycooper and Roberston Cooper. Join for FREE and access blogs, videos, downloads, podcasts and more.

Ben MossBen on Twitter

MD of Cary Cooper's business psychology firm, Robertson Cooper - for all things wellbeing, engagement and resilience at work.

Cary CooperCary on Twitter

Professor Cary Cooper, Director and Founder of Robertson Cooper Ltd, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School.

Good Day at Work™ blog

  • With a divisive President in the White House, the UK about to leave the EU and the recent global financial...

Keep in touch

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robertson Cooper Ltd
Rutherford House
Manchester Science Park
Pencroft Way
Manchester
M15 6SZ

Tel: +44 (0) 161 232 4910