Our lives are very busy. We’re constantly trying to multitask in order to cram more into the limited time we have. I’m guilty of it as well. I’ll try to spend time with my kids, but check my email or answer a twitter message I received. Inevitably, I’ll knock over a drink and end up frustrated that I’m spending the time I thought I was saving, cleaning up a mess. Later, I’ll realize that I didn’t really spend any quality time with my kids and I responded to the wrong person on Twitter. What was the point? It wasn’t like I enjoyed the multitasking and it turned out to not even be effective.
Multitasking is much harder than it sounds. Studies have found that not only do people perform each task worse than if they were done sequentially, they also lose time in the process. In other words, you could do more work and of higher quality, if you focus on one task at a time. That is true for more than just work. It’s true for everything. If you are present with whatever you have chosen to do at a given time, you will have much better results.
So, when you are with your family, spend time with them and forget about work emails and to-do lists. When you are doing chores, forget about trying to make work calls. When you are at work, focus on what you are working on. Don’t spend time thinking about the project you aren’t working on, etc. You get the picture. Your goal should be to be present in every moment. Give yourself completely to whatever you are doing. That way, you will be able to achieve the most during every moment of the day. You will also make whoever you are with at the time feel like they matter to you and that’s also important. So, be present. With time and practice, you will see the difference in your output, stress and relationships with others.