The Myth of Multitasking

Are you a list person? On the weekend my daughter was feeling a tad overwhelmed by all the items she had on her list. When she showed me the list, I noticed towards the top was Take a Shower. Do you really need that on your list I exclaimed?!

Of course, what she was doing was micromanaging her overly busy weekend by making sure she allowed enough time to enjoy her shower and get enough sleep to maintain her high-energy social life combined with an intense training schedule. She exhausts me thinking about it!

And then I reflected on my own week and weekend. It was also intense, with 18-hour days from unexpectedly helping a family member to achieve a deadline. Because this wasn’t planned for, any to-do lists for myself were just in my head, and as the evening’s work got longer, I had to scratch a few things off.

This got me thinking about multitasking. Multitasking only works when we combine a physical activity with a mental one. But there’s no way we can effectively complete 2 ‘thinking’ tasks at once. I recall a friend who proudly laughed “I can walk and chew gum at the same time!”

We can do something practical and repetitive (like jogging or sanding furniture) whilst listening to a podcast or humming a song, but if we pause to take a measurement, we stop listening to concentrate on the task at hand.

So? If you want to achieve more next month or next year, you need a system to help you get there. To-do lists are great, but sometimes they just keep you busy. Take a moment to notice how when you are super busy, the ‘less urgent’ tasks just don’t get done! Unfortunately, some of these are important to our longer-term goals. If that is frustrating you, a system to help prioritise and maintain focus might be beneficial.

On 17th January I’ll be running Kickstart 24, a fun and valuable half-day workshop where you are guided through selecting your individual priorities for 2024 and taught a system for keeping on track during the year. Book through the link.

Perhaps you’re interested in a Business Kickstart 24 for your team — I’m running these too. Just send me a message to arrange a time that works for you.

Do you need a kickstart to ensure you achieve what’s important to you in 2024?