There are two schools of thought when it comes to multitasking: those who believe that it is an essential skill for getting things done, and those who believe that it is a waste of time and leads to distractions. If you are in the latter camp, then the best way to eliminate distractions and get things done is to monotask.
Are you trying to focus on a task but keep getting distracted? You’re not alone. In today’s world, it’s hard to focus on one thing when there are so many distractions. But there is a way to focus and eliminate distractions: monotasking.
Is Multitasking Bad?
Stanford University‘s 2009 study found that multitaskers, who manage multiple streams of information simultaneously, are less adept at memory and attention tasks.
According to the same research, multitasking tests show that people who believe they are great multitaskers score lower than those who don’t.
Other studies have shown that multitasking can lower your intelligence, reduce your brain’s efficiency and make it challenging to learn new things. Recent research shows that multitasking can sometimes increase creativity.
The prefrontal cortex is a portion of your brain located at the top of your skull. Although the prefrontal cortex is responsible for many things, its primary function is to direct your attention.
The prefrontal cortex is divided into two sides. Both sides communicate with each other and the rest of your brain.
If you focus on one task, your prefrontal cortex and the paired side of your brain can work together as two dancers in a beautiful waltz.
However, when you do two things at once, such as texting and driving or emailing and writing a report, your left and right prefrontal cortex must be divided: The left side does one thing, and the right side does another.
Both tasks don’t get the attention they deserve. We end up with bad news and car accidents.
Worse, however, is that multitasking can lead to a brain that is more scattered than it should be.
What Does Mean Monotasking?
Monotask reminds us to keep our eyes on one task at a given time. Although it may sound like something you can do, switching your attention between tasks is more likely to make it challenging to perform well on all of them. Monotask is a way to manage time. It encourages you to focus on a few specific tasks for a short time.
Monotask can be more complex than you think, especially after years spent learning to multitask. Fortunately, some basic strategies can help you get more work done. Many apps and programs can support these strategies, but they require you to change your habits rather than use equipment.
Monotasking vs. Multitasking
Monotasking may be the solution to multitasking if our brains can’t do it. It can reduce overwork and make us feel more accomplished in our daily lives.
Multitasking can lead to a decrease in productivity in most cases and for most people. We do two, three, or four tasks poorly and end up doing them all well. Instead of focusing on one study and being creative, we should monotask.
For me, this has been true. It’s easy to see why I feel so tired. I have a hectic schedule that involves moving from one meeting to another, trying to squeeze in ten minutes to check my email or do some real work. My most relaxing days consist of focusing on one task, which is often writing articles like this one. Then, it’s easy to relax before moving on to the next task.
Multitasking divides your attention among multiple tasks simultaneously, while monotasking focuses and fully participates only in one study.
How to Monotask and Eliminate Distractions?
Multitasking can be a problem if you do multiple tasks at once. Monotasking can seem daunting if this is the case. These are some simple strategies that can make monotasking easy.
1. Freedom will help you to block distractions.
A website blocking tool is a good idea if you are worried about being distracted by your social media feeds and favorite blogs while you work. Freedom is a website blocker software that helps you avoid distractions while you work.
Freedom can be installed on your computer to create lists of distracting sites and set up a block session when it is too difficult to focus. You can also block Internet access but only allow you to access the websites you are interested in. Freedom is a program that can help you make more time.
2. Your notifications should be turned off
Did you know that an average smartphone user checks their phone 150x per day? You get a strong urge to check your phone every hour, but once you scroll down, it’s hard to focus. Although you won’t completely stop the urge to check your phone randomly, turning off notifications will help you reduce the frequency of reaching for your phone during the day.
3. Use the Pomodoro Technique.
Attention residue is not possible by taking short, deliberate breaks with the Pomodoro Technique during a deep-work session. How can you plan your day using the Pomodoro Technique? You will work in 25-minute sessions, with five-minute breaks. After four Pomodoro, take a more extended break for around 15 to 20 minutes.
Don’t use those breaks to start another task or check your notifications instead, step away from your devices and get your body moving. Take a walk, do some yoga, have a cup of tea, and organize your desk. These activities can help you reach what Newport calls “third space”, a place of mindfulness during in-depth work sessions.
This “third space” is where you can relax, reflect, then get back to work. Although it may take some practice to reach this space quickly, it will become easier over time.
The Pomodoro Technique works so well. It isn’t easy to justify multitasking and using your phone when sticking to a schedule. You only have 25 minutes. This urgency helps you stay focused and reminds you that you have breaks available.
4. Make a list of distractions.
What can you do if you are unsure where your time is going? Sometimes it’s helpful to sit down with a piece of paper and brainstorm. To effectively eliminate distractions, it is essential to identify the root cause of the problem. Are you constantly fiddling with playlists, trying to find the perfect soundtrack for your workday?
Are you unable to socialize in the office? Do you often take breaks to talk to your coworkers? Do you find your attention drifts when hungry, thirsty, or tired? Once you understand the root cause of the problem, you can take proactive steps to fix it.
Why It Matters To You?
Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Your goal shouldn’t just be to do more. It should be to do better, to be more efficient with your time.
It’s possible to do two things simultaneously, but it is impossible to concentrate on two things at the same time effectively.
Stop multitasking and get monotask. That’s how to increase productivity.