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Why Single Tasking Is All The Rage!

OK so I am on the phone, while working on the computer, while thinking about what I can cook for supper and well maybe thinking about… Does this sound like you? I hear so many people say, “but I have so many things to do! I have my job, remember everything for my family, exercise! I hear you!

Welcome to the world of multi-tasking. This has become the norm in today’s society. Doing just one thing at a time seems very luxurious and we can even say it feels wasteful! Multi-tasking is often driven by a feeling of accomplishment, it kind of feels like a badge of honour!

You may think you’re a master multi-tasker, but, according to a 2013 University of Utah study, this probably means you’re actually among the worst! Time Magazine shares another study that just “2.5% of people are able to multi-task effectively. When the rest of us attempt to do two complex activities simultaneously, it is simply an illusion.”

So what is really happening when we are multi-tasking?

Many of us believe that doing a lot of things simultaneously is a positive trait! I certainly thought it was!

Thanks to neuroscientists studying how the brain actually works, they are finding ”our tendency to divide our attention, rather than focus, is affecting our ability to perform even simple tasks”.

All this multi-tasking is deteriorating the muscle allowing you to focus. And the more you multi-task, the less comfortable you’ll be “going deep for extended periods of time.”  So much quality is lost in the process. Also, when we are putting more on our plate, we are more likely to feel stressed!

How is multi-tasking affecting you?

1) Your creativity starts to dwindle
At George Mason University, the authors of a 2010 study says that “multi-tasking is specifically bad for creativity, which is pretty important in the modern workplace”. With so much going on in that head of yours we often start thinking narrowly as opposed to broadly. No wonder you may find it harder to daydream and have less moments of ‘a ha’!

2) Lack of Learning
The ability to focus is essential to learning. “If we attempt from an early age to multitask constantly, we do not practice how to tune out the rest of the world, to engage in deeper processing and learning.”

3) Unable to be mindful
One big thing when you are multi-tasking is that you are missing out on life“People who are busy doing two things at once don’t even see obvious things right in front of them,” according to a 2009 study from Western Washington University. Mindfulness teaches us to be more focused and present on the task at hand.

4) Drains our energy
I sometimes wonder why I am tired, and realize that when I attempt to multi-task, that I do not actually do more than one activity at once, but quickly switch between them. This switching is tiring and “it uses up oxygenated glucose in the brain, running down the same fuel that’s needed to focus on a task”.

When we feel more exhausted, we also can eat more or take in more caffeine. I can catch myself when this is happening now. What I really need is a just a break even for just five minutes! If you are not taking regular breaks every couple of hours, then your brain will not benefit from that coffee or for me that Mocha Frappachino!

5) We are less productive
The reason we are thinking we are multi-tasking can be because we are feeling that we are being more productive! But experts “estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. It can also cause you to introduce errors into whatever you’re working on, especially if one or more of your activities involves a lot of critical thinking”

So how can you stop multi-tasking?

Do one thing at a time! Work on the most important task at hand.

Perhaps schedule in a block of time that you are only doing one thing and try and be more aware when you are doing 2 things at once.

Doodling is the perfect place to practice single tasking and introduce more mindfulness and creativity in your life. So really it’s a WIN-WIN.

You will be amazed how much more you can accomplish and how much better you will feel.


Happy single tasking!

P.S. FOCUS AND QUIET YOUR BUSY MIND with this Doodle Ball Activity. Remember to stop and just enjoy 5 Minutes for you!

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