As I approached a non-functional point a few years ago, I was constantly starting things and never completing anything. My days were whirlwind of starting and stopping. At home the craziness continued. About that time, I found Flyladyand started to take steps. Her words for what I was doing was “sidetracked” or “chicken with its head cut off”.
I began to realize how detrimental multi-tasking was for me. Sure, I may be able to look like I’m paying attention to someone talking while I’m cooking dinner, but the fact is I will either burn dinner or not fully take in what is being said. I may look like I’m doing a good job designing a database while a process runs in the background, but at best I’m giving both partial attention.
Over at Slow Leadership, Adrian Savage talks about the inability of people to focus on two things at once. I agree with all the things he is saying. “You can never have more than 100 percent of your attention available. Split it across two tasks and nothing changes. Still 100 percent.“. We only have 100% attention per individual. But I disagree that having a 50/50 focus will result in half attention on each. As we switch back and forth between tasks, we lose attention as our brains try to make the jump. So as you try and do more, you end up doing less as the shifts happen.
I think it’s worth considering. If you are a habitual multi-tasker, could you try a time period where you focus on one thing at a time? It’s worth thinking about. I know that my stress level went down and my productivity went up when I stopped multi-tasking.