Multitasking. Are we still doing that? Well, recruiters continue to include this “skill” in the job ads they put out there and most of us brag about being able to do several things at once in our resumes. But is this what you should be able to do in order to score the job you want and is this what companies should really ask their employees to do in order for a more profitable venture?
The answer is… not really. Doing several things at once is part of the old-fashioned corporate culture that is slowly fading out, leaving room for the fresh startup cultures that understand where the future of business lies—in a holistic approach to achieving success. Single-tasking is part of the new wave of businesses that are not all about profits, but also about making a (good) difference in the world, helping others, making life better, more enjoyable and respecting the others and the planet. Nothing rings more true in my head right now than the “You had one job!” line you see in countless memes all over the internet. Yes, that is all you need to think about whether you are just starting out and are looking to shape your company’s culture or you’re simply looking for a way to be more productive.
In fact, science backs the idea that multitasking is literally impossible and that men and women are equally bad at it. Forbes even called it a “bad habit” in a story written by one of its contributors. The article was actually aiming at helping readers stay away from multitasking as the “habit” has unwanted consequences on our health. The way multitasking was understood—and maybe still is—is as the ability to do more than one task at a time. In the same article, Forbes quotes MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller saying that our brains “are not wired to multitask well… when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.” Research says that once we interrupt one task, it takes an average of 20-25 minutes to resume the initial work.
How single-tasking works
When it comes to the top business trends for 2019, we are betting on single-tasking. You know, resolving each of the items on your To Do list without stopping to attend other tasks. Turns out that, at the end of the day, this is actually more productive than cramming several responsibilities into a short period of time. A lot more gets done in a day if you cover individual tasks rather than allow for many interruptions and try to handle various tasks at once. A lot of time is wasted for refocusing—resuming something that you interrupted—which leaves less time for your tasks. Try to finish what you start before you go down on your To Do list. Make time to prioritize what you need to complete and then try to focus on each of these points, in order of importance, and limit or block any possible interruptions. These are the basic principles of single-tasking.
If you are thinking about adopting this type of workflow strategy, all we really need to tell you is that great time management is at the basis of successful single-tasking. This is where digital tools come in. Since our audience is mainly made up of registered dietitians, we want to highlight the importance of having an integrated software program that can support all your day-to-day private practice needs. If you have everything in one place—client visits, meal plans, a calendar, patient anamnesis, billing details and more—single-tasking can become a regular way of making this happen.
Multiasking is encouraged by our working environment and the tools we work with. We all have instant messaging apps open, as well as email or calendar alerts messing with our focus. It might turn out almost impossible to get away from the chaos, but all it takes is a bit of determination, planning and the right tools for time and task management. Try single-tasking for one day or, even better, for a week. See the results. It will turn out that by single-tasking, taking breaks, planning and organizing, you will get a lot more done than if you would be crazily multitasking. As you probably guessed by now, single-tasking is one of the business trends will get you amazing results in the long term.
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