There is No Such Thing as Multitasking

Updated: Nov 2

Based on research, women are deemed to be better at multitasking as compared to men.

They are responsible for taking care of the house, taking care of the kids, parents, and husband, making sure the groceries are in check, the bills are paid, and the laundry is done.


On top of this, if they are handling their own business or they have a job, that's one more thing added to their already overflowing plate.


With all of these responsibilities combined together, women have been wonderfully coping up with the associated pressures of being a mom, an employee, a boss, a wife, a daughter/daughter-in-law, and the caretaker of the house. Some of us take pride in being able to navigate these pressures on a daily basis, some get used to the grueling routine because it's worth it to see your family happy and your business flourishing at the end of it all.

Image showing an octopus multitasking, the theme of the article is to emphasize that there is no such thing as multitasking.

But there is so much more here than what meets the eye. Women are expected to be good at all of this so they push themselves to multitask and juggle all the responsibilities at once. And if you are one of these women who seem to have it all together because you feel like you are brilliant at multitasking, well let me break it you: You're doing more harm to yourself than good.


Why?


Because there is no such thing as multitasking. It doesn't work. You've been fooled.


It's pretty tricky actually because as we go about our day, we are walking while drinking our coffee and checking our phones, quickly sending emails while chatting with our co-workers or during meetings, chatting with our friends on the phone while preparing meals for our family. This all seems to be really good multitasking and you feel like it saves you a lot of time too.


There are a number of things wrong with this though:


  1. You are not fully focused on completing one task at a time: When you are multitasking you are essentially switching between tasks, not working on all of them at the same time. When you are switching between tasks, your brain is also switching focus which hinders your ability to fully pay attention to and complete one task.

  2. You are doing a mediocre job of completing three things at the same time than an exceptional job of completing each one of them at a time: As you try to squeeze in as much work as possible in that one hour, you are focused on the completion of all that work rather than the quality. The result is a mediocre outcome of something that could've given a boost to your credibility if there was more thought and focus put into it.

  3. You are not allowing yourself time to think and rethink: If you keep juggling responsibilities, how will you ever be able to get those creative juices flowing? Your brain needs space and you need a clear head to rethink the way you are about to work on a project or an email or a meeting.

  4. You think you are saving time when multitasking is actually slowing you down: You might not see it but that email that you could've sent in 3 minutes took you 30 minutes because you were discussing the agenda for the next meeting on your calendar with your teammate. Trust me.

  5. You are susceptible to making more mistakes while trying to multitask than otherwise: As you try to work on more items together, you increase the chances of making a mistake. Again, it comes down to focusing on the task at hand, completing that task with your full brain capacity, and then moving on to the next one.

  6. You are prone to burnout, depression, and stress: Stop overloading your brain with tons of things to process at a time, you'll start to feel exhausted and drained of energy. Save your energy for the most important tasks that will create value for you in the end.


Now that I have listed all the things that are wrong with being a multitasker or trying to be one, I'll also help you in figuring out how to avoid it in the first place.



How to Avoid Falling into the "Multitasking" Trap


  1. Make a priority list: This is the fundamental difference between people who succeed and people who don't. You must have heard of the Eisenhower Matrix, it helps prioritize tasks by urgency and importance, sorting out less urgent and important tasks which you should either delegate or not do at all. This is a technique that you can employ at the beginning of each day or the night before to prioritize your day. If you would like to try something simple first, a to-do list or checklist works too. Make sure to do the hardest and most important task first. When you start focusing on one task at a time, you will see significant improvement in your focus, creativity, quality of work, and overall mood.

  2. Do things in batches: Do similar tasks together. If you are sending emails, designate a time in the day to take care of all the emails in your inbox. If you are going out for groceries, maybe you can pay all your bills along with way.

  3. Take breaks in between and that means no social media: Designate 20-minute breaks after every 2 hours for yourself where you move away from all your work, drink some water, go out for a walk, stretch or meditate, have a coffee break with your teammates talking about anything besides work.

  4. Be mindful about creating a balance: Keep a healthy balance between work and family, and also take some time out for yourself. It's important to replenish your strength and energy to keep moving forward.

  5. Enjoy each task while working on it: Don't forget to enjoy the work you do because if you hate your job or hate doing house chores, it would make it very difficult to live life the way it is meant to be lived. Freely and happily.


Remember, there's no such thing as a master multitasker.


Happy Working!


#WorkWarsWomen


- The Other Working Woman



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