December 18

Congratulations – you’re quite the multitasker, no? You can write, check your email, watch a show on Netflix, and monitor your notifications all at the same time. Amazing.

Actually, it’s not. And, you’re not really multitasking, you’re doing what psychologists call “rapid task switching”. You are quickly moving your attention and executive function back and forth between multiple tasks, which means that you are abandoning what you’re actually working on – writing something important – each time you check your email.

The problem – and this really is one – is that each time you break your attention, you don’t go back to exactly where you left off. Instead, your mind needs time to re-engage with your work, and to get back to the level of creative thinking you were previously experiencing. It might not seem like anything has changed, but your creative flow has been broken inside your mind.

You will always do your best work when you are doing a single task at a time. Just one thing. This is most certainly true of any kind of work that requires creative problem-solving.

When you have important creative work to do, eliminate as many distractions as you can, commit to focusing solely on that work. You will find insights that are lurking just beneath the surface of your conscious mind that are ready to break through.

Don’t rapid task switch. Do one creative task at a time.

Question: Do you try to multitask? How can you structure your work so that you are doing one thing at a time?

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