We are a culture of busybodies, y’all. If we don’t have about a million things happening at once, we feel subpar, and when we feel subpar, we feel sad. The bottom line is that we shouldn’t aspire to busy, we should aspire to productivity. It took me the longest time to realize that busy and productivity weren’t necessarily the same thing. Yes, you can be busy and productive, but not if multitasking is your way of accomplishing this busyness.
Today on the blog I am going to share some reasons that multitasking is killing your productivity so that you can become a more productive person and student.
When You Multitask, You Never Become Truly Committed To A Task
There is always something bigger and better that we could be doing. Something that is more fun, something that requires less of our brain power, something that we want to be doing. We are in a culture that is never truly committed to anything. When we are immersed in that culture, it comes through in everything we do, including trying to be productive.
When you spend your days juggling five different tasks, you are never truly committed to any of the tasks you are doing. You never get into the flow of writing a great paper or working on your Chemistry homework. Therefore, when something bigger and better comes along, you jump on it.
Do you want to go to the movies? That new rom-com is playing, and the lead character looks dreamy.
Okay, sure, no one talks like that, but you get the drift. Since you are not truly connected to any of the tasks you are doing, one beep of a text message will send you into an “I need to answer that now,” rage. Any task can be a prominent task because you have yet to commit yourself to one task.
It’s easy to be swept away into the next big thing when you don’t have a current big thing.
When You Multitask, One Task Is Always Receiving The Brunt Of Your Focus
My sister loves to talk on the phone. I don’t want to throw her under the bus because I love taking the time to chat with her and see what’s going on with her life. When she calls me, though, I know I can kiss productivity for that hour or two out of the window because I can’t talk on the phone and get work done at the same time. I have tried, and I just can’t.
When you put your brain into the multitask zone, there is always one task that will get your attention and the other tasks that will dance around in your brain without receiving the time of day.
Your focus is on that task be it talking with your family, cooking dinner, or working on an assignment for class. Your brain is not meant to be in a million different directions. It wants to focus on one thing, and that thing might not be what you should focus on.
Let’s face it; gossip is better than schoolwork. Hell, just about anything is better than schoolwork on average.
Instead of trying to fight this thought, you must lean into it. If I know gossip or watching the sunset on my patio is better than schoolwork—I am not going to try to do both of those at the same time. It wouldn’t be wise for me to do that in the end.
When You Multitask, You Are Putting Actual Energy Into A Task Without Receiving The Benefits
Have you ever been exhausted after a group study session in the library, but when you look at your to-do list, you have truly only crossed off like two things (and maybe one of those things was actually to freaking create your to-do list?) Yeah, that sucks.
Even if you are not getting the tasks done, your brain feels as if it worked on it all night long. You sat down with the intention to work on your paper for English class, after all. Sitting down to do a task, even if you don’t get it done, is taxing af.
The multitasking is putting your brain into a false sense of getting shit done. You think you are, you feel like you are, but you haven’t accomplished a single thing. Your energy is zapped, you want to nap for hours, but your tasks are still piling up on your plate.
This kills your happiness and your productivity.
When You Multitask, You Are Prone To Making Mistakes
Focus is imperative to getting things done the right way. Sure, everyone makes mistakes whether or not they are focused, but unfocused people make more mistakes. When it comes to certain tasks, you just can’t afford to do that.
Misspeaking to a friend in person can probably be rectified easily, but mistyping to a friend via text message because you are pulled in a million directions can be dangerous. Writing down notes in class while trying to keep up with the endless stream of social media can be catastrophic to the future of your studying if you get something down incorrectly.
We cannot always afford to make mistakes, small or not. Sometimes they are more serious than we can ever realize when we make them. Our goal should be to try and reduce the mistakes that we make. We can do that when we are as focused on a task at hand as we can be.
When You Multitask, It Creates Bad Habits While You Are Working (And When You Are Not)
Multitasking can create all sorts of bad habits.
There are the stress-related bad habits. Someone who is multitasking may pick up a habit of smoking or drinking way too much caffeine to try and ease the constant stress they are under with school.
There are also personal bad habits. Someone who is multitasking may pick up a habit of having to multitask all the time. You can see how that may be damaging to a friendship if you always have to be on your phone waiting for the next big thing to drop in your lap. No one wants to be friends with a person who can’t be in the moment with them. No one wants to be friends with a person who makes them feel like the second-best thing in their life at the moment.
Multitasking doesn’t just stop when you get done working on schoolwork or working at your desk. It continues. It’s not just a part of you that you can turn on and off like a switch. You can’t be a person who multitasks (but only sometimes.)
All Hope Is Not Lost
You don’t have to multitask; you can work on your brain's (perceived) need to be everywhere yet nowhere at all. You can retrain your brain to be more focused, to do tasks one at a time.
I have written many times on this blog about the Pomodoro technique, and I truly appreciate its use. I am using this method right now as I pen this blog and I am training my brain every day to be more focused.
This blog is here to tell you how multi-tasking is killing your productivity, but it’s not here to tell you your productivity is dead. It’s still breathing, even if the breath if faint. Dig deep, and find a productivity system that works for you. For me, I am most productive when I am using the Pomodoro technique, but I realize that it is not for everyone. Find what works for you and use that technique until it doesn’t.
Productivity is hard. Deep down there is a part of us that may enjoy not being productive, that may enjoy never connecting to a task, that may enjoy flying by the seat of our pants. You don’t have to get happiness from negativity. There are plenty of other perfectly fine ways to get a thrill, you could go base-jumping or Christmas caroling, for example. You don’t have to mess with your productivity to feel alive!
I hope that this article gave you a new perspective on multitasking. I hope that you have decided that multitasking isn’t for you and that there are much better ways of getting things done. Focus is key, y’all, and you don’t want to lose it.