Stop Multitasking and Give Your Brain A Break
Jim Kwik, brain and memory coach and author of the bestselling book “Limitless,” has a saying about multi-tasking: “You’re actually not multitasking, you’re task switching.” According to Kwik, there is no such thing as multitasking. “You cannot do two cognitive activities at once,” says Kwik. “You’re wasting time, cause it takes anywhere from 5-20 minutes to regain your flow. You make more errors and you use up more energy,” he continues. You actually use up more glucose in your brain when you go from one thing to another as opposed to staying in focus. And Kwik even has an acronym to better understand the word focus: Fixed-ongoing-concentration-until-successful.
So by retaining your focus on one task at a time, you’re saving yourself time and are less likely to make errors. But that’s not all you’re doing. Research has shown that multitaskers have a shorter attention span and that multitasking may also lower your IQ! So if you really want to be productive, get things done and use your time efficiently, there are three ways to make it happen for career multitaskers.
- Group similar tasks together and work on them at the same time.
- Ditch unhealthy distractions like social media and/or doom scrolling.
- Schedule breaks between tasks, because your brain needs the downtime to recharge. (Maybe that's a good time to get your weekly Cryotherapy in!)
Kwik survived a traumatic brain injury in childhood, and has gone on to become a highly sought-out trainer for organizations such as Google, Virgin, Nike and more. He’s published books, hosts a podcast, teaches learning programs and spoke at SXSW 2022, so clearly, he knows a thing or two about getting multiple tasks done efficiently.
Keep A Journal To Track Your Emotions And Organize Your Thoughts
Ryder Carroll is a New York Times bestselling author, digital product designer and inventor of the Bullet Journal method, which is a form of personal organization that combines daily calendars, reminders, brainstorming and more into one succinct form. He’s also a user of his product, and has given a TED Talk about the subject.
“We have to externalize our thoughts to declutter our mind,” Carroll told the TED series. “Holding thoughts in your mind is like trying to grasp water — it’s nearly impossible. But by writing down our thoughts, we can capture them clearly so we can work with them later.”
To achieve that end, Carroll follows five steps.
- Create a mental inventory.
- Consider why you’re doing each thing on that inventory.
- Ask “is it vital?” and “Does it matter to me or someone I love?”
- Take what’s left, and make it happen.
- Revise your mental inventory each day.
“This practice will provide you with a lot of personal data,” says Carroll, “and that data can provide profound insights into your life: what have you tried, what have you not tried, what should you do more of, what’s working, what’s not.”
Be More Decisive
Aurthor Darius Fouroux is an entrepreneur and investor that focuses on productivity, and he’s written seven books that tackle the subject. Why is it so important? Because decisiveness helps execute plans and achieve goals. But it can also save time and money. Have you ever been with a group of friends trying to decide on a place to eat? Everyone may have great ideas, but ultimately, they’re afraid to make the final decision. A good friend will cut through the indecision, save everyone time and make that final decision, for the good of the group. And yes, we’re going for pizza. But before we get there, these are Fouroux’s tips for being more decisive.
- Don’t focus on the outcome, because it’s out of your control.
- Keep it simple and limit your options.
- Detach from the situation (avoid buyer’s remorse)
“Make the decision and get on with your life. It can be as simple as that. But only if you make it so,” says Fouroux.