Sleeping with the enemy: Why multi-tasking is not friend, but foe

It is often said that women are the smarter sex because we can do more than one thing at once. We can ‘multi task’. Well girls, listen up because I will not be heard saying this one again! In fact, I can’t believe I’m putting it in cyber space…

The women (in this instance!) are wrong, and the men are right.

Yes, you heard me right. The men who glance at us sneakily, chuckling away and shaking their head at us while we are running around feeding the kids, doing homework, answering emails and whatever else all at once while they are setting the table, have got it right. They are doing things the easy way, and it’s working.

The fact is that we think multi-tasking is our friend, but in reality, it’s our enemy.

I know that this is a hard pill to swallow. First the gents are doing it right and now we need to change our method… I bet you don’t like the sound of that at all! Don’t worry; it’s not all that bad.

Let me just take this opportunity to explain why multi-tasking is bad…

You have heard me talking about being focused before, and why it is so important to our success and getting things done. Multi-tasking makes us unfocused on what we are doing, and this is when things go awry. This is when we start making mistakes, start forgetting things like where we were up to on the punch line in that email, and generally start to feel like control is slipping. Realistically, there is simply no way that you can finish 10 things at once successfully. I’m pretending that I am hearing a collective ‘ohhhhhhhh….’ from you all now!

Ok Jess, you have taken away one tool from me… Can I have one to replace it with please?!

OF COURSE you can! I thought I would never ask…. And it’s super simple too:

Finish your mouthful before you start another one…

No, I’m not teaching etiquette lessons (yet), it’s just a logic that I want you to follow. Think: if you scoff your food you get heart burn, you can’t eat anything else, it hurts, and it’s damn difficult! So you don’t do it. You learn to chew thoroughly, swallow, and wait before the next mouthful. I want you to take this approach – ie, finishing one thing off before starting another – with your multi-tasking. In fact, let’s not even call it multi-tasking anymore, let’s call it ‘single tasking’. Take on one task at a time like writing an email, finish it, and move on to the next. I promise that this is a far more productive way of doing things, and you will actually get things done quicker because you are focusing on one thing rather than a million. If you have any distractions such as ideas, write them down. If you have someone nattering in your ear, tell them they need to give you 5 minutes. If you have something boiling on the stove, just turn it off!

Finish one thing off at a time; give it the attention it deserves so you can do it properly and without distractions. And try not to start something that you know you can’t finish!

Until next week,

Lady Calamity x


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