Multitasking Is Not Productive

“At every moment keep a sturdy mind on the task at hand, as a Roman and human being, doing it with strict and simple dignity, affection, freedom, and justice-giving yourself a break from all other considerations. You can do this if you approach each task as if it were your last, giving up every distraction, emotional subversion of reason, and all drama, vanity, and complaint over your fair share. You can see how mastery over a few things makes it possible to live a devout life-for, if you keep watch over these things, the gods won’t ask for more.”

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.5

Humans are bad at multitasking. Well, that’s not entirely true, about 10% of the population are good productive multitaskers also known as “supertaskers”. But that leaves the rest of us… Focusing on two or more tasks overloads the working memory in your brain. In turn overloading your brain with two or more tasks comes at the cost of productivity.

Every day I sit down to write a post and the first thing I do is turn my phone over. Unless I receive an important call, I don’t turn the phone back over until the post is complete. I want complete focus on the task at hand. The two key benefits this provides is being able to write a post in a short amount of time(productivity), and full immersion into the writing without self-induced distraction increases the quality of the post.

A common thread I have noticed throughout successful people is they are really good at a few things. Not exclusively because some people are good at a multitude of things. But in general, they focus their energy on a few things they typically really love and get good at them. In other words, they find a way to capitalize on one or two of their strengths.

Stop approaching tasks as if they are menial and inconveniencing you. How you do anything is how you do everything.

Get really good at something that you have a deep interest in. Just know the more you pull the thread on what you most would like to do, the more opportunities will come out of it.

Start to really think about where your energy would be most effectively allocated if you were going to pursue what you most want to do. Envision it, then act on it. You’ll be amazed what a year of you strategically focusing your energy on tasks that make you most happy and are most in line with your goals will get you. Why not find out?

Does the real risk lie in you pursuing what you actually want to, or in you trying and having a chance of failing?

Also take the time and watch this commencement speech given by Neil Gaiman titled Make Good Art. You will not regret it in the slightest.

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