We live in the age of multitasking, with words like "hustling" and "juggling" often associated with work and productivity. If you don't hustle, you won't get far. If you don't juggle, you might end up failing to complete everything on your list. We are constantly told that we must do more than one thing at a time to stay productive. But are we really being productive by multitasking?
Multitasking might seem like an efficient way to achieve your goals, but establishing a flow at work can be a highly effective alternative. After all, the conscious human mind can only process up to 50 bits per second. Overloading the brain with too many tasks can negatively impact the quality of your work.
The onset of multitasking culture
Many apps and products are marketed to multitaskers. Split-screen features and floating apps are two popular examples. While modern technology provides users with the time and space to multitask, several studies indicate the brain doesn't respond as efficiently when multitasking as it does when you are concentrating on a single task. With many organizations assigning tasks that require coordinating and collaborating with teams, the need to multitask becomes obvious. Multitasking culture cannot be eliminated completely. But embracing alternate working styles may lead to a major increase in the quality of your work product.
Does multitasking actually benefit individuals?
Do you read while listening to music? Or paint while watching TV? Or study and text at the same time? Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to fully concentrate on one particular task while you're engaged with another? Next time you have multiple tasks to complete, consider assessing how long you take to complete both tasks individually, as opposed tosimultaneously. You should also note the quality of your work when you are concentrating on one task at a time. Odds are, it far exceeds the quality of your work when you multitask.
A study published by the University of Sussex states that, when people use multiple devices at the same time on a frequent basis, the grey-matter density in a particular region of the brain is lower when compared to those who use just one device occasionally. This suggests that multitasking could hinder brain development and even harm the IQ in the long run.
Importance of flow, and tools that help you achieve flow at work
It's evident that multitasking has some drawbacks, so it's about time we recognized harmful patterns and took thenecessary steps to change them. You can start by embracing the importance of flow at work, exploring methods to achieve flow, and finding out what works best for you.
How can you achieve flow at work?
Instead of switching back and forth between tasks, identify a single assignment and give it your undivided attention. When you concentrate and stay focused, you start working with a flow. Here are some tips that will help you focus on a single task and achieve flow at work.
Pick a distraction-free zone
When you work on a particular task, ensure you stay clear of distractions. Distractions may include notifications buzzing from your phone, the internet, and activities around you. Find a spot where you can concentrate better, get into the zone, and start working.
- Organize your tasks
Sometimes, it's necessary to handle more than one task at a time. The best way to tackle this is by grouping similar tasks together. Your brain will understand the pattern and not feel like you are shifting between different tasks.This will help you retain memories and focus. You can also categorize your tasks depending on the level of priority (high, medium, or low) and work on one at a time.
Practice the Pomodoro technique
The key to establishing flow at work is training your mind to focus on a specific activity. You can try out the Pomodoro technique, which helps you time your work intervals, take sufficient breaks, and complete your tasks. The Pomodoro technique has been known to help retain focus, create discipline, and enhance productivity.
Check out this article on how to use the Pomodoro technique at work.
Use productivity management tools, like reminders and task management tools
Keep track of your tasks and to-dos with project and task management tools. Use them to create and delegate tasks, mark the priority level of each task, view deadlines, sort assignments, and complete your work in an organized manner.
Reminders are also an essential tool when you don't want to miss out on any important activity. Make it a habit to schedule reminders when necessary. Zoho Cliq comes with a full-fledged, built-in task management tool, which easily integrates with Zoho Projects. This will help you stay on top of your tasks and more effectively manage deadlines. You can schedule reminders directly from messages you receive in your Zoho Cliq chat.
Start your week with these tips in mind, and see if you notice an impact on your productivity and the quality of your work.