Is It Multitasking or Is It a Distraction?

The glorification of busy and the association of busy-ness with success has encouraged a culture of multitasking. Twenty years ago, even the most successful business person was able to disconnect from work, at the very least, on weekends, typically on weeknights as well. Unfortunately, handheld devices have gifted businesses the 24/7 employee and offer endless distractions to teenagers who have important tasks to complete.

Instead of watching Tommy’s soccer practice, his Dad is replying to a work email, while his Mom manages her meetings for the upcoming week. The common misconception associated with multitasking is the notion that the more things a person works on at once, the faster things will get done. Even Tommy has a hard time focusing on practice when he can hear the familiar ping of a text from his phone.

In actuality, a mere two percent of the population can effectively multitask, while a whopping 98 percent cannot. Studies have found that as participants are given more and more tasks to carry out at the same time, their performance significantly decreases and, at times, their attention wanes altogether. It appears that those who pride themselves in the ability to multitask are mistakenly using the term to describe the process of shifting from one task to another, rather than completing multiple tasks at the same time.

The tendency to switch between tasks before one is completed has been shown to decrease productivity by 40 percent. This is because it takes twenty minutes on average to get back on track once distracted. Although it may seem productive to check emails, while listening in on a conference call, pouring a cup of coffee, and scrolling through Facebook, it’s less efficient in the long run. Fortunately, shifting focus from multitasking to effective prioritizing can increase efficiency and productivity especially with the help of technology.

RescueTime

This application is ideal for anyone who is not entirely sure where their time is going. The RescueTime app tracks time spent on the internet and creates a report detailing common websites browsed, as well as the length of time spent on each website and how often a user frequents it. Users can also set a productivity goal within the app and track their progress in a weekly report.

Freedom

This application reduces digital distractions across multiple devices, which makes it ideal for anyone that utilizes multiple platforms to complete their work. Users can block any form of digital distraction using Freedom, whether it’s a particular website, application, or the entire internet. Users can either start sessions as they feel fit or pre-schedule sessions where certain distractions are blocked.

This is an ideal application for teenagers who struggle to focus on homework as they constantly check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. It couldn’t be simpler: block, focus, work, relax!

While many other applications can help users remain task-oriented, the key takeaway is simple: Time spent unilaterally focusing on a task is always more efficient than time spent switching between various tasks. So, download an app, or simply turn off notifications and get down to work. Less time spent working equals more time spent with family and friends, and who doesn’t want more of that?

 

Kali Muir is an ambitious freelance writer with a BA in Communications. She was born in Canada but has since lived in Norway, Denmark, and England. Her work experience is as diverse as her past addresses, including roles in technical communication, corporate communication, marketing, and article writing. She has experience working in varied business sectors: Oil & Gas, Engineering & Technology, Clothing & Equipment Retail, and Creative Writing. Follow Kali’s professional and personal journey at www.kalimuir.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

FamilyTech Guest