Multitasking has become a cultural norm, in fact, people are proud of their ability to multitask. But, is it really God’s best for you?
No. In fact, your brain functions much more efficiently when you allow it to focus on one task at a time. Trying to complete multiple things simultaneously is difficult, but it’s also inefficient and harmful to your everyday life. In the era of smart phones, tablets and social media, focusing on one thing at a time seems impossible, but it’s not. Here are four dangers of multitasking, four ways to avoid it and four benefits of focusing on one thing at a time.
Four negative side effects of multitasking:
- Working on multiple things divides your attention. This causes stress because you’re worrying about several things at once.
- Memory loss
- Your brain was meant to focus on one thing at a time. When you force it to work on several tasks, you switch your attention back and forth, which makes it easy to forget things.
- Social problems
- Constantly checking your phone or social media when you’re with friends is hurtful because you’re giving the impression that you’re disinterested and only able to give them half of your attention.
- Lost time
- Your brain has to re-adjust every time you shift your attention between tasks. This ends up taking longer than doing one thing at a time.
If you’ve fallen into the habit of multitasking, it’s never too late to make a new routine. Habits can take a while to change, but being dedicated and setting goals will help you establish a new regimen.
Four ways you can learn to avoid multitasking:
- Turn off distractions
- When you’re working on something, put your phone on silent and log out of social media. Set a timer at first, so this change isn’t overwhelming. Start with five minutes and work your way up to one hour or more.
- Make a list
- Writing down the things you need to do helps you remember and is better than bouncing back and forth between projects. Listing tasks according to their importance is also a good way to prioritize your time. Try using an app or excel spreadsheet which allows you to organize your tasks according to priority. Priorities change, so don’t get frustrated when your list shifts.
- Organize your space
- Clearing off your desk, or cleaning your room allows you to think clearly and removes possible distractions. Set a goal of finding a permanent home for one item of clutter every day until you’re space is neat and organized.
- Practice concentration and prayer
- Like anything else, changing habits takes work and dedication. Try to focus on something for 15 minutes and when you can do that, increase the time. Most importantly, pray for God to give you strength and discipline. It may seem counterproductive, but place something that will remind you to pray close by. When you’re distracted and see that item, you’ll be reminded to go to God in prayer. Overtime, you won’t need the reminder, it will become a natural habit, then you can file the item away with all your other clutter.
Learning how to focus is challenging, and the world’s fast pace doesn’t encourage taking time to focus on tasks individually. However, concentration is a discipline, and you’ll improve with practice.
Four benefits of focusing on one thing at a time:
- Save time
- Individual tasks take less time to complete, which means you have more free time to do other things you enjoy.
- Produce your best work
- Your mind functions most clearly when you do one thing at a time, so your energy is reflected in the finished product.
- Build stronger relationships with other people
- Being attentive to other people shows you care. This helps you establish better relationships.
- Gain peace
- Allowing your brain to function as it was meant to helps you relax, but you can only do this by spending time with your Heavenly Father and seeking Him for help.
Even though the world relies on multitasking, it’s not what you were made to do. God designed your brain to work on one thing at a time. Spending time with Him and studying His Word is a great way to build up your concentration. As you focus on God, your ability to concentrate increases, allowing you to focus more on the person that God is creating you to become.