Resist Media Multitasking

Focusing on one task at a time is good for your health. You may want to consider changing some of your media habits. 
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Focusing on one task at a time is good for your health. You may want to consider changing some of your media habits. 

A recent university study found using multiple media devices at once was linked to a loss of brain tissue. Additionally, previous studies have found that chronic multitasking can weaken your attention span, memory, emotional intelligence, and social skills. Ironically, multitasking feels good in the short term. It’s stimulating and satisfying to cross multiple items off your to do list. 

 

Do less and accomplish more by trying these tips to become more single-minded.

 

Avoid Problematic Behavior. Working on complex tasks that draw from the same mental resources can be highly problematic. For example, it’s better to avoid talking with your child’s teacher and reading the latest news at the same time because both require your full attention.

Shut off your phone. Remove the temptation to check your messages. Plan specific times to check your emails. Power off your phone, tablet, and other devices for a few hours a day each day.

Set your hours. Be sure to designate specific hours for clients, customers, and friends. Let others know that you are NOT accessible 24/7, and let them know in advance when they can reach you and when you’ll be offline.

Schedule breaks. You’re more likely to multitask when you’re losing interest in something. Take a breather each hour to avoid the temptation to multitask.

Check your Media Multitasking Status. Catch yourself when you’re researching medical symptoms and editing a marketing proposal at the same time. Slow down. Force yourself to switch to doing one thing at a time.

Alternate between activities. You can still juggle multiple responsibilities and pastimes without practicing Media Multitasking. Arrange your workday so that you update your database or clean up your files in between calling clients. If you spend the morning cleaning the garage, break it up by taking a walk before you tackle the basement.

Think long term. You’ll avoid multitasking when you keep the long term consequences in mind. Imagine how much you’ll enjoy thinking more clearly and having increased energy.

 

Set goals. It’s easier to stay engaged when you clarify your purpose. Focus on and complete tasks that build upon one another first. Consider how that career training session could help you to attain a promotion or raise.

Play games. Turn any activity into a game or contest, even if you’re competing with only yourself. Get creative, and think outside of the box If you’re studying a foreign language, use a crossword generator to transform your vocabulary drills into interesting puzzles.

Form a trusted circle. Practice the buddy system. Reach out to others who are trying to working on or learn the same or similar information and skills. Invite a colleagues and friends co-worker to join you and work alongside you in your space.  Surrounding ourselves with other focused and hard-working individuals can be motivating and help keep us on track.

Remember to experiment with different approaches. Never stop adjusting and finetuning what works best for you. Putting down your phone and closing a few browser windows can make you happier and more productive. Continue to ask yourself “what’s most important at this moment?” Then, give that task your full attention.

By: Hillary Hutson

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