Minimalism – Single Tasking

posted in: BLOGGING, LIFESTYLE | 18

Something that I have been reading into of late is Single Tasking. I believe this sort of falls under my eventual Minimalism series topic. Hear me out.

I would normally write this blog post with a YouTube video on in the background, maybe intermittently checking Instagram and most definitely eating a snack. I want you to stop and take notice what you are doing right now.

  • How many browser tabs do you have open?
  • Are you listening to anything (music, Netflix, YouTube) in the background?
  • Are you eating?
  • Is your phone being used occassionally while you work on your computer?

In today’s society, we try to do it all…at once. Multitasking is something that I’ve done for YEARS. MSN messenger, texting and playing Sims? Sure, no worries. It has also creeped into my work life. Sending emails amongst attending to regular tasks and also eating a chia pudding at my desk (with a sneaky YouTube ASMR video playing in my headphones). While we all think we are master multitasks, research shows that just a three second distraction can lead to DOUBLE the amount of mistakes when working on something while multitasking.

More alarmingly, our attention spans are less than a goldfish. The average attention span of humans in 2015 was about 8 seconds, while a goldfish has 9 seconds of focus. In the year 2000, our attention span was about 12.5 seconds. (source)

So, how do we combat this?

Single Tabs

Remember when tabs weren’t a thing on the internet and you needed to open brand new windows each time? This was a bit of a blessing in disguise. By having only one tab open, we could focus more on the task at hand, rather than be distracted by other, more appealing or ‘fun’ tabs (I’m looking at you reddit.)

Fully Engaging

By offering a task your full attention, it will be done at a faster rate. This can apply to fully immersing your self in writing a blog post (like I am attempting at the moment) or setting a timer and cleaning your house continuously until the timer is up. Fully engaging in a task will ensure that the task is done correctly, and quickly. It also frees up your day for more fun activities and full relaxation time.

Bulking

Something that I learnt in one of my previous jobs was a system for working called ‘bulking’. This is when you cut out big slabs of time in your calendar (allowing for small, 5 minute breaks in between every 20 minutes or so) to completely focus on a task. We were also encouraged to only check our email three times a day for 10 minutes. Attending to each email separately and filing away once completed. While this wouldn’t work in some work scenarios that largely rely on email as communication/work inflow, it can really help you to focus on single tasking.

Are you also a chronic multitasker? Do you think it affects your work?

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  • I’m literally watching PLL, scrolling Instagram on my phone, scrolling through Bloglovin’ on my laptop and eating Tim Tams. I didn’t realise I was this bad!!!!!! I can totally attest to single tasking being more productive haha

    Sharni // A Girl & Grey

    • Kate Flint

      Hahaha when you take a step back and look at what you’re doing it can be really shocking! It’s crazy how much information we try to jam into our heads on a daily basis. No wonder I’m so forgetful!

  • I love the idea of the minimal email time! I was reflecting on my typical workday to my boyfriend the other day and he was shocked to know it usually takes me until lunchtime to even get my emails opened and filed, and then I have it open all day as well. It’s infuriating that workplaces want high quality work but we are expected to reply to that business account social media comment or message within a short time limit, or reply back to a question that could have waited.

    Maddie | http://www.maddiesbeautyspot.com

    • Kate Flint

      It’s so crazy isn’t it? I have people that send an email, and then come directly to my desk to read the email and discuss it together. Why send the email -_- ???

  • HerQuarters

    I needed to read this, I am constantly multi tasking and forgeting things. Thank you for sharing this information. Im bookmarking your post and sending it to my husband to read because i think everyone can benefit from single tasking.

    Amy | http://www.herquarters.com

    • Kate Flint

      Thanks Amy! I’m glad it’s been helpful, and good luck with single tasking! I am still trying to do this more effectively every day 🙂

  • Laura Tough

    I love this! I constantly have soooo many tabs and windows open, especially during heavy uni time. It is so good to just close them all and refresh though

    Laura || http://www.thelifeoflaura.com.au xx

    • Kate Flint

      Uni is a major time for multitasking, it can be so hard to focus on doing that essay when you are also thinking about your mini exam, placement coming up and email D:

  • I find I will often multi task but when I need to get things done I can have a very singular focus. I suppose it is from all those years of churning out essays in the 24 hours before they were due. Bulking sounds a lot like time blocking, which can be really effective for longer term projects. Great post 🙂

    Emma | Rosy Disposition

    • Kate Flint

      Yes I’ve heard it called blocking as well! Definitely a useful way to get things done for larger projects.

  • So true about us multitasking more these days! The tabs in our internet browsers are not helping with us focus on one task at hand- I’m guilty for having a few tabs open and jumping between them! You are so correct, focusing on a single task is more efficient and produces better outcomes!

    http://reveriebelle.blogspot.com

    • Kate Flint

      I’m super guilty of it too! I am trying to limit my tabs open at the moment unless I need it for work purposes

  • You’re so right! We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and sometimes we just need to stop and concentrate on one thing.

    • Kate Flint

      It can be hard to see, just have to take that step back and focus!

  • This is so informative, i agree with you, need to concentrate and focus on one thing.

    • Kate Flint

      Glad you enjoyed it! It can be scary how natural it comes to us to multitask!

  • I strongly believe in this. Multitasking means you can’t give your all to an important task, meaning what ever you put out may only be half done, or just not be good enough! So its good to just focus on one thing at a time to get the task done fully!
    It’s something that I’m trying to practice too

    x
    Ironic Minimalist / http://www.ironicminimalist.com

    • Kate Flint

      It can be hard to break the habit of multitasking but I am really endeavouring to try and focus on one thing at a time. Baby steps!