You can talk on the phone whilst driving…
You can write a text whilst having a conversation with a friend…
You can listen to music whilst working…
So, you think you’re an expert at multi-tasking…I’d like to challenge that and ask you…
Do you still think you could have a focused conversation with others in the car when you’re driving on unfamiliar roads in heavy rain?
I know where you’re coming from – I was on the spin bike at the gym last week, I was also writing reminders on my phone. I was thinking I was being clever by exercising and doing things for work at the same time.
What I noticed though was that while I was playing with my phone the speed at which I was cycling dropped significantly and therefore I wasn’t using my time on the bike wisely.
You may be saying who cares?
Well, Earl Miller (MIT neuroscientist) found that we don’t actually have the capacity to do two different things at the same time, in fact we are just really good at switching quickly from one to another which gives the illusion that you’re multi tasking. As a result you stop and start tasks repeatedly.
This constant switching is actually costing you valuable time and mental energy!
Still not convinced?
Give this experiment a go –
Time yourself for each one of the following actions –
1. Spell out loud, one letter at a time “The earth is round” and at the same time switch between writing your full name one letter at a time.
2. Spell out loud, one letter at a time “The earth is round” and after you’re done, write your full name.
When I tested myself it took me 20 seconds to do the first action and 8 seconds to do the second. So, when I was multi-tasking it took more than twice as long to complete!
My advice…focus on one task until it’s done, only then should you switch to another one.
As my mentor Ben Harvey taught me – FOCUS = Follow one course until successful
And remember, you have the power to steer your own course in life.