Dear SOTGC Community,
Do you still wear the badge of being a multitasker? You tell yourself, “you have to, you have no other choice”. Our lives today include too much information, distractions, overwhelm and stress. Do you wonder if you are being most productive and is there a better way?
You can’t seem to get away from it. The organizations that many of us work for, often demand it. But research from the University of Stanford shows that multitasking is indeed not good for you. It doesn’t make you more productive, it actually does the reverse. It causes you to make more mistakes, be less creative and take more time to complete the task. When you multitask, you are causing your brain to bounce around versus being focused on what is in front of you. The switching that you are causing your brain to do is exhausting and causing you stress.
How do you break the multitasking habit? Mindfulness has become a proven tool that can help. Mindfulness offers you the ability to strengthen your focus and attention on what is happening in the moment. Approaching each experience as a new moment with openness and curiosity.
Distractions are a part of what happens in life. We have over 50,000 thoughts a day that flood our minds. With interruptions happening on average 5x an hour, often taking up to 20 minutes to return to what you were doing. Mindfulness helps you to realize that your mind has wandered off and to return to what is most critical for you to focus on.
Practicing mindfulness has shown to alter the structure and function of the brain. Resulting in improved decision-making, critical thinking and working memory. Plus reduces stress and improves our performance. Following are easy ways to help you to break the multitasking habit and be more effective at work in a less stressful manner.
- Start a meeting with a mindful moment. We often find ourselves rushing from one meeting to the next. Without taking a moments break. We enter the 2nd meeting, jotting down notes from the previous meeting. Often missing the first minutes of the meeting we are in. Take a 30 second mindful moment. Take a breath and enter your new meeting refreshed. Lead your team in this practice and experience a more focused team. Many leaders today are doing this including Eileen Fisher, who runs the clothing empire worth over $350 million and who has been recognized as one the top 500 women-owned businesses.
- Choose to be positive. Our brains are wired to think negative thoughts and consider negative thoughts to be 5x more powerful than positive thoughts. With mindfulness you can train your brain to be more positive and choose to focus on happier, positive thoughts. Challenge yourself to write down one positive thought each day.
- When you feel yourself stuck or your mind is cycling with too much information, get up and leave your desk for just 3 minutes. Take a walk, stretch and clear your mind. Changing your pattern will open your mind to different stimulations and a chance for new creative thoughts to enter or greater clarity.
- Have compassion. Reach out for help. Ask others to assist you on a task or assign it to someone who is capable of handling it. When you are compassionate to yourself, you are more compassionate and kind to others. Creating a culture of collaboration.
Incorporating these small habits into your daily life will help you to focus on what is important in the moment, and reduce the stress you experience when multitasking. Being mindful will improve your overall sense of wellbeing and satisfaction for your job and life. Please leave a comment and share it on your social media. Thank you for reading.