THE BLOG

Why Single-Tasking Is the New Multitasking

01/11/2016 03:00 pm ET

In our busy and hectic lives, the ability to focus has become more important than ever.

Harnessing our attention requires minimizing distraction. And for all of the benefits and efficiencies modern technology brings, digital tools have also become some of our biggest distractions. These distractions fill our days and make us feel busy, but busyness and productivity are two different things.

As #1 New York Times best-selling author Tom Rath says, "Staying connected is now remarkably easy. As a result, getting anything of substance done is not."

In Rath's book, Are You Fully Charged?, he notes that people unlock their cell phones an average of 110 times per day, including 9 times per hour during peak evening hours. He reports that workers sitting in front of a computer screen are interrupted at least every 3 minutes, and forfeit 28% of each day to distraction. In fact, only 1 in 5 people say they have the ability to focus on one thing at a time at work.

So how can we take control over our devices and tune in to our own minds? Here are some recommended strategies:

What all of these tactics really do is help us to focus on one thing at a time. It turns out that "single-tasking" is actually the best way to get important things done. As Dr. Mike Dow, psychotherapist and best-selling author of The Brain-Fog Fix, says, "Mindfulness - doing one thing at a time and paying attention while doing it -- is a powerful antidote to the barrage of distractions that come at us day and night." Giving our attention only to the task at hand enables us to accomplish more while feeling less anxious and less scatterbrained.

Digital interruptions are more prevalent and persistent than ever before.

Those who have the ability to tune out the distractions and tune into themselves will truly be set apart from the rest.

Follow Andrew Merle on Twitter.
Follow Andrew Merle on Medium
.

CONVERSATIONS