Are you still trying to multitask?

At the pace the world moves today, it seems impossible to go a day without multitasking. Whether it’s answering an email during a meeting or talking to your co-worker about one project while writing up a report for a different one, we’re all guilty of trying to multitask.

The truth is, you can’t. Researchers have shown that instead of actually doing two things at once, our brains quickly switch our attention from task to task. And this constant switching can end up negatively affecting the tasks you’re trying to get done. Just check out this passage from an article about multitasking in Harvard Business Review:

“Based on over a half-century of cognitive science and more recent studies on multitasking, we know that multitaskers do less and miss information. It takes time (an average of 15 minutes) to re-orient to a primary task after a distraction such as an email. Efficiency can drop by as much as 40%. Long-term memory suffers, and creativity — a skill associated with keeping in mind multiple, less common, associations — is reduced.”

Want to break the habit? Start small. Turn your phone on silent when you go into a meeting. Log out of your computer while you’re on the phone with a client or customer. Use website blockers to ensure you’re not surfing social media while you’re in the middle of a project. It’s not going to be an easy habit to break, but it will be worth it.

It’s a new year, and maybe in 2020 we should pledge to give tasks the complete attention they deserve. No more checking social media while on the phone. No more working on three Excel sheets at once. Take things slower, give each task your complete attention and don’t overwork yourself.

The One Stop Shop blog is your number one source for furniture industry tips, advice and how-to's. From social media guidance to breaking down trends in the industry, One Stop Shop offers solutions and ideas that will help specialty retailers, manufacturers and designers succeed in business. Alex’s millennial tendencies and love for listicles runs deep, but not as deep as his passion for providing useful, helpful and informative solutions. Have something you want Alex to write about? Contact him on Twitter @CLalexM or by email at Amilstein@casualliving.com