How to Work Less and Do More – Stop Multitasking

by Stephen Mills on January 24, 2009

You Don't Need to Be Pressured by the Clock

You Don't Need to Be Pressured by the Clock

If you want to escape the rat race you will have to reduce your working hours.  You can do this and accomplish more at the same time.  It is not hard to do.  In fact it is rather simple to accomplish once you understand the right techniques.  You may also want to work the same number of hours and produce a lot more to get ahead in your current job or business venture.  This is the first in a series of articles that will help you with techniques to get more done while working less.  What could be better than that?

Stop Multitasking Now

Numerous studies have shown that multitasking is inefficient and will result in getting less done.  This is especially true for complex tasks.

The measurements revealed that for all types of tasks, subjects lost time when they had to switch from one task to another, and time costs increased with the complexity of the tasks, so it took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks.  IS MULTITASKING MORE EFFICIENT?

This happens because when multitasking one must constantly switch contexts and context switching takes time.  When you are working on a task and are interrupted it can take up to 10 minutes to get back up to speed with what you were working on before the interruption.

Multitasking is just plain stressful.  Trying to manage multiple tasks at the same time will create stress and thus tire you out both mentally and physically which will further reduce your energy and effectiveness.  This is the downward spiraling chaos where you seem to be working harder and harder and yet don’t seem to get anything accomplished. You are trapped in the rat race.  You must escape now!

Focusing on a single task can often put you into a state commonly referred to as “flow”.  I will publish an article later that talks more about flow.

Here are some tips to help you stop multitasking

  1. Focus on the task at hand and I mean really focus.  Get your water, a snack, go to the restroom, and complete whatever other activities that might otherwise cause interruptions to your work. Then eliminate all distractions and lose yourself in the task.
  2. Try to find a quiet room.  If you work in an open office or cubicle environment go to a quiet place such as a small conference room and work alone.  This is an incredibly powerful technique.  Just try it and I guarantee you will be amazed at the results.
  3. If working in a quiet room is not possible, then put on your headphones and play soothing background music or sounds to drown out the noise.  I personally like rain sounds.  Put up a sign that says “Do Not Interrupt”, “Come Back Later”, or something similar.  If you sense people in the background, pretend that you don’t notice and sometimes they will go away.
  4. If you are interrupted, pleasantly explain that you don’t have time right now and start making the motions of going back to work.  The interrupter will often leave.
  5. Turn off cell phones, email, browsers, instant messaging, etc.  Maximize your application window if you are working on a computer so you can’t see any distractions in the background.  People who need something important will leave a message.  The others weren’t important enough to bother leaving a message and thus were obviously not worth your time either.

Once you discover the power of single-task focus and flow, you will never go back to your old multitasking habits.  In addition to the tremendous productivity increases that will inevitably result, you will find that more peace and calm will return automatically to your work day.  This will create a self-reinforcing spiral of effectiveness, energy, power, and peaceful accomplishment.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Thunderstorm Sounds September 6, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I couldn’t agree more. I found that I got way more done when I focused on one task at a time. When I turned off the radio and put on a thunderstorm or rain sound mp3 my focus and concentration increased.
Thunderstorm Sounds´s last blog post ..Lightning and Thunder


Dave Crenshaw March 21, 2011 at 12:22 am

Interesting post. Turning off cell phones, email, browsers and instant messaging or any interruptions in a workplace that will delay your working process is a good point. You should have a scheduled time for everything.


Dave Crenshaw May 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I agree. Turn off cell phones, email, browsers and instant messaging or any interruption that will cause you to switch attention. You should have a scheduled time for everything.

To learn more about the effects of multitasking, take my free exercise at


AlfredoHip July 2, 2015 at 2:35 am

fantastic 4 2015 fantastic 4 download fantastic 4 movie preview


robaxinMl July 3, 2015 at 5:46 am

robaxin and aleve can you buy robaxin over the counter robaxin before surgery


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge