In this fast-paced society multi-tasking is often a way of life. Most people do it regularly and wear it like a badge of honor as if it were something to be proud of. Of course, there are some jobs and some times in life that multi-tasking is required, I won’t be talking about these. I’ll be discussing all the times we multi-task when it’s not necessary.
The problem with multi-tasking is that we’re dividing up our attention. We only have a certain amount of attention to use at one time. If we’re doing four things at once, we can only give 25% of our attention to each thing. It’s impossible to do a job as effectively with 25% of your attention as you can with 100% of your attention. You will simply perform better focusing 100% on something compared to if your attention is divided amongst multiple things.
Divided attention leads to more mistakes and a lesser quality of performance. This isn’t difficult to understand and yet unconsciously society has dismissed this fact and replaced it with the façade that multi-tasking is good. Our best is good, quality is good, focus is good, doing less than your best is not conducive to a successful or fulfilling life.
There’s no place this is more evident than when dealing with people, especially friends and family. We’ve all been trying to have a conversation with someone when their attention is diverted by something else. Is it enjoyable? Do you feel important? Loved? Heard? Of course not. Often, children are exposed to this more than anyone. Adults are so busy doing other things while they’re with their children, it diverts there attention consistently.
To be a good parent, friend, family member, worker, boss, etc., we need to learn to put our focus on what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with. Take a moment to disconnect your attention from what you were doing previously and focus on what you’re doing now. These five or ten second breaks just to focus your attention fully on what you’re doing can make all the difference in the world!
As much as possible, give all your focus to whatever you’re doing and see how much better you work, how much less scattered you feel and how the interactions with the people in your life improve. You very well may also notice your self-esteem rise. It’s difficult to feel good about yourself inside when subconsciously you know you’re not giving your best to the situations in front of you.
The enjoyable things are fully experienced and enjoyed, while the things we do out of necessity are done effectively and quickly when we are focused on them. So, focus your attention on what you’re doing and experience the life enhancements that come along with it!