Multitasking and monotasking – the essential difference

Multitasking and monotasking - yin yangThese days it seems you need to be multitasking away all the time if you are to truly consider yourself a citizen of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, multitasking is the perfect way to carry out innumerable tasks at the same time with mediocre results at best.

If what you’re trying to accomplish is something mundane or whose results are ultimately of small import, maybe multitasking can save you some time–maybe.

But if you’re working at something that requires a lot of attention, multitasking is the best recipe to come up with sloppy results.

Multitasking is also bad for your IQ and, overall, it also tends to worsen your ability to learn something new.


Instead, it’s mono-tasking–the unfashionable way to carry out one task at a time giving it your all–that wins the race.

All this can come like an unpleasant discovery. But in most cases you can transform sub-par multitasking into stellar mono-tasking. All you have to do is to make a list in order of importance of the tasks you want to carry out. Then you go through them one by one, with laser-like focus.

If you’re still a bit uncertain, try mono-tasking for just a few minutes each day. Set a period of time small enough to avoid disrupting your daily routine but long enough to give mono-tasking a serious try.

For example, you can try  the pomodoro technique or whatever else technique you find most useful.

Irrespective of the supporting tools you choose, chances are you’ll be amazed by the results.

Not only productivity

Another perk of mono-tasking is that by focusing on one task at a time you don’t experience the anxiousness you usually experience when you are working on many different tasks at a time and it seems you never manage to finish any of them.

It’s sort of like having a million tabs to read open in your browser. (However I must admit some people never experience this kind of anxiousness.)

I don’t know about you, but for me even if multitasking ended up saving me some time, which is not the case, the serenity mono-tasking offers is as great a benefit as that of working in a quiet environment.

But again, we are all a bit different. So more than simply attempting to discredit multitasking in favor of mono-tasking, with this post I just wanted to remind you that you can choose.

And that if you choose what makes you feel better, irrespective of what is trendy, chances are you’ll end up being more productive.

Picture: Angela_Yuriko_Smith


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