Monotasking – I know that I used to list the ability to multitask as a skill on my resume. However there is so much evidence showing that it is not good for you, and in fact harmful, that it’s hard to continue to wear it like a badge of honour. It actually compromises everything you are trying to accomplish. Our brains are not wired to handle multiple complex tasks simultaneously. Rather than multitasking you are sequential tasking, switching rapidly from one thing to another, which makes you less efficient and ultimately scatter-brained. Every time we switch from one thing to another, our brain goes through a switching process and there is a price to pay for that, including productivity and creativity. Check out this Earl Miller, Neuroscientist article on the subject. Interestingly this article is from 2016 – I certainly missed it back then. This is new to my awareness since 2019, I still have a ways to go, but here’s a few ideas
*Turn off the tech, checking your phone 85 times a day, is 5 hours of usage. Switch it off until you need a break.
*Set aside time to monotask – at least 15 minutes to focus on something and then longer as you get used to it.
*Clear your work area – your brain is novelty (squirrel) bias. (PS this is so hard for me…definitely a work in progress)
*Check your emails 2 or 3 times a day rather than having your phone or watch ding every time there is a new email.
*Have a nap – even a 15 minute nap is like an extra 90 minutes of sleep and improves your IQ by 10 points. I’ve talked about my naps before, a 30 minute timer works for me.
Notes I will never send – In fact I often actually burn them in my fire pit or a fireplace. It is a place to vent and say what you really think and feel, that is safe. It is a great release of your feelings. If you are rehearsing a conversation over and over in your head, but can’t bring yourself to actually have it, write it and destroy it. It is very therapeutic.