Stop Multitasking: How Living in the Present Can Make You More Productive

Living in the present boosts productivity

So many of us value multitasking as an important skill-set to productivity - but are you willing to do it at the cost of your sanity and happiness?

Checking our emails whilst on the phone, scrolling on social media when watching TV, texting as we eat dinner, having lunch at our desk and flicking back and forth on our internet browser. While technology has seemingly made us more ‘efficient’ - it is in fact damaging our way of living and putting more strain on our brains than good.

An article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by researchers from Stanford University shows that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information have a lower attention span,  and memory recall compared to  those who prefer to complete one task at a time.

The findings show there is a time lag when your brain processes moving on to the new task - up to 40 per cent more time than single tasking. The multitaskers made more mistakes, underperformed compared to the single-taskers and took a longer time to focus.

Our brains can only efficiently process one thing at a time, so whilst multitasking sounds like an effective method to high productivity - it in fact makes it difficult to organise our thoughts and filter out irrelevant information. This leads to us feeling burnt out and prone to making more mistakes.

Imagine a life like this...

Waking up in the morning and eating your breakfast consciously - appreciating every bite, taste and sensation. Talking to someone without looking down at your phone. Putting all of your energy into one thing and amplifying the result. Feeling completely engaged in something without distractions or inner-chatter. Spending quality time with your family without getting stressed about what needs to get done. This is the key to living a productive yet stress-free life. Easier said than done you think? Of course making the switch from a multi-tasking machine to someone who lives in the moment takes time.  

6 Small Life Changes to Boost Productivity

Here are six small changes you can make that will amplify your productivity in a positive way and reduce stress cortisols:

  1. Give yourself permission to engage in something that excites you every single day.

  2. Block out a time window each day for replying to emails and checking personal social media.

  3. Consciously connect with both the little and big tasks you’re doing. Everything from working on a project to making yourself a beautiful, nourishing meal. Feel into the moment and connect on a deeper soul level.

  4. Only have one window open on your computer and focus on the task at hand. Stop flicking from screen to screen and pour your energy to what is currently in front of you.

  5. Put your phone on silent so you can truly pay attention to what you’re working on.

  6. Choose up to 3 ‘most important tasks’ to accomplish each day. These are the tasks that are of high importance and once you do all of these, you will feel at ease to enjoy your day and accomplish the smaller tasks. Remember to focus on one at a time.

Start saying no to things that no longer serve you

Create boundaries for your workload and when you're switching off, switch off. Finally, follow the wisdom of Charles Dickens -

“He did each single thing as if he did nothing else”

Happy single-tasking!


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