The beauty of Single-Tasking

In today’s society, we live in a world in which we are bombarded with responsibilities, things to get done, jobs, tasks, schoolwork, etc etc. We have trained ourselves that multi-tasking is the best way to do things. Especially with computers and the increase of technology, multi-tasking is easier than ever! We can be having five conversations on AIM, surfing the web with 10 tabs open in Firefox, all while texting and watching the tv. Multi-tasking is glamorized, and people brag all the time about how good they are at multitasking and how they can actually write their 10-page paper while watching the newest episode of “Lost.”

Now I will say something that sounds blasphemous by making the assertion that multi-tasking is not the best way to get things done, but rather “single-tasking.” I used to be like every other typical college student trying to do too many things at once. I could be doing five things at any given moment, and by the end of the hour none of them would have significant progress. One second I could be writing my sociology paper, and the next second I would be logged into Facebook checking photos of my friends.

I soon realized that by multi-tasking, I never really got anything done while wasting a whole bunch of time. I figured that I would try to take things on one-at-a-time and figure out how it would work out. After starting to really concentrate on things that I needed to get done without any other distractions, I had an epiphany:

I actually got stuff done.

Not only did I get stuff done, I got it done more efficiently and better. The time it would take me to do an essay while doing 5 other thing would have took me 8 hours, but by really concentrating it took me only 2 hours. By putting all my energy and effort into one task, I would become totally engaged into that one thing; giving it the proper attention it deserved.

When you have too many things open, your mind becomes cluttered and you can’t think straight. When you are on firefox, don’t have 10 gazillion windows open at once. Not only does it slow down your computer, but you never give enough time and attention to one thing because you’re always switching tabs. You only get to skim that fascinating article you found because you are suddenly distracted by paying your bills on Bank of America or having to respond to a message on Gmail.

Try to have only two or three tabs open at one time, and close all unnecessary tabs if you have others open. Once you get that task done, whether it is downloading that song, checking your grades, or even looking at a lolcat photo, close it when you are done. Then you can have time to refocus on anything else you need to do. By keeping it open, it constantly nags at you and demands for your attention, which kills your focus.

I am currently learning about “Getting Things Done,” which is an incredible system that helps you become more productive, while being stressfree. On zenhabits, they have a great FAQ that you can go over to get a gist of it. Or you can check out the book on Amazon. I currently have the audiobook for a seminar the author gave, and am still in the process of listening to it. I plan on ordering the book (Which is only 10 bucks on Amazon) to get a better-read of it.

But anyways, the author talks a lot about getting things done by “single-tasking” which I feel is much more effective. I had always had it as a part of my philosophy, but the author even strengthens my belief in it.

So try to simplify your life and do things one-at-a-time. You will be amazed how much more things you will actually get done, and better.