multitasking and executive functions

Is Multitasking Worth It?

Our demanding world requires us to do many things in a day. There was a time when time management strategies included getting good at multitasking—doing more than one thing simultaneously. Just think of your computer screen and how you are tempted to constantly check e-mails, respond to that “bling” of Skype, and check on “interesting” links in e-mails and Twitter. We do these things while we are “working.”

Well, it’s not a good idea.

Our brain doesn’t like to switch around. It does one thing at a time and when we change focus we dramatically increase the odds of errors in our work. In addition, the work will actually take longer than if we hadn’t tried to multitask.

Two of my adult clients commented that they were now consciously stopping themselves from multitasking.

One, who was compulsively checking her e-mails every few minutes, set a timer for 45 minutes. She told herself that when the timer went off she could check her e-mails. She reported more focus and efficiency on her tasks. She wasn’t anxious about checking her e-mails. She started to feel less stressed and more relaxed.

Another client said that her habit had been to set up a DVD movie or TV show on her computer while she folded laundry. She realized it takes a bit of time to set up the computer, so she decided to forgo the movie and just focus on folding clothes. She reported how impressed she was with how quickly she folded four baskets of laundry. She realized that with the movie it would’ve taken her longer.

If you really want to improve time management—stop multitasking. Do one thing at a time. I’ll bet you will be impressed with the results!

About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program® and the Set Up Success and Seeing My Time® planners. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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