Is monotasking the new multitasking?

Asia's Tech News Daily

Is monotasking the new multitasking?
© C.J. Burton Switching constantly between tasks can lead to burnout, according to research. Photo: Getty

Shruti Verma, 45, couldn’t quite put a finger on it, but she felt a gnawing tiredness throughout her waking hours last year. The computer analyst from New Delhi was eating healthily, taking her vitamins and even sleeping well, but her chores-packed life gave her a feeling of “not being in control”.

“I was proud of my multitasking skills – eating meals, checking my email, responding to a text, watching the news and talking to my spouse all at the same time. My two teenage kids called me ‘superwoman’. I was. Until my head exploded.”

I was programmed to think multitasking will help me accomplish more. But it was ruinous for my health

Shruti Verma, computer analyst and mum of two

Verma was hospitalised last year for chronic fatigue, after which doctors advised her to slow down and see a wellness counsellor. The latter’s prescription was simple: “Try doing one thing at a time.”

“It wasn’t easy to begin with,” says Verma, “because I always felt there’s so much to do; how will things get done one at a time? Besides, I was programmed to think multitasking will help me accomplish more. But it was ruinous for my health.”

Is monotasking the new multitasking?
Download our mobile app

Over three months, Verma says she forced herself to switch to “monotasking” – the art of doing one thing at a time, as well taking short breaks throughout the day to sip green tea, chat to a colleague, tune into some soothing music and occasionally do nothing at all. “The change felt like mini meditations in a still action-packed day and helped me take charge of my life,” she says.

Multitasking compromises the quality of your work while robbing you of the joy of savouring your achievements

Sneha Malhotra, wellness counsellor

The pandemic has been challenging for all, but especially so for working mothers who suddenly found they had too many plates spinning at the same time. With limited domestic help, children kept home from school, a homebound spouse and their own professional commitments, many felt at once overworked yet underproductive if they weren’t multitasking.

Despite such exigencies, however, doctors have been increasingly advocating the perils of multitasking. “It is not only a health hazard, but also compromises the quality of your work while robbing you of the joy of savouring your achievements or intimate moments with family,” says Sneha Malhotra, a wellness counsellor from Mumbai. “While multitaskers claim to initially get a dopamine rush from their high productivity, in reality multitasking splits our focus and gives us a false sense of accomplishment.”

I was trying to be everywhere and do everything perfectly … and there was a continuous feeling of being overwhelmed

Komal Seth, businesswoman

Malhotra says she has had many clients complaining of burnout owing to a constant switching between tasks while working from home. “We forget there’s a price attached to this mental task-switching,” she says. The prefrontal cortex, which allows humans to concentrate, Malhotra explains, has to switch between rules and goals because our brain can’t do two things at once. As a result, she says, “multitasking releases stress hormones and adrenalin, which can trigger long-term ailments if not controlled”.

The case is more severe for women who spread themselves too thin by constantly flitting between household chores, caregiving needs and professional commitments. This is exactly what Komal Seth, founder of travel PR company Linkin Reps in Delhi, went through last year.

“Before Covid, I was travelling non-stop for work as well as managing my company, employees and home. I was trying to be everywhere and do everything perfectly and I could see how it was wearing me down. My shoulders and back were constantly strained, and there was a continuous feeling of being overwhelmed.”

However, when travel came to a grinding halt and Seth started working from home, she began doing things at her own pace organically and the results were extremely rewarding. “I found myself experiencing life fully in each moment, and with more calm and focus than ever before. I also experienced higher satisfaction in accomplishing each task and the quality of my work was so much better. I’ve since switched to monotasking,” she says.

Monotasking is also backed by science. A study titled Media Multitaskers Pay Mental Price, published as far back as 2014 by Stanford University professors, found that the human brain is engineered to focus on one thing at a time. Another 2014 study, published in the Understanding and Preventing Suicide collection of peer-reviewed journal Plos One found that multitasking could whittle down grey matter density in parts of the brain, and that multitaskers may have less grey matter in their brain than monotaskers. The findings emphasise up to 40 per cent of productivity is lost when we multitask because it takes more time and we keep making mistakes ranging from small typos to major oversights. Psychologists call this loss of productivity “switching cost”.

Going further back, to 2012, a research paper by cognitive scientist David Meyer from Michigan University demonstrated that humans have distinct bandwidth challenges that can make multitasking “problematic”. The study revealed the more we multitask, the less we accomplish.

Monotasking makes us feel less reactive to our surroundings and helps us to choose how to respond

Dr Prateek Parikh, cognitive expert

Additionally, doctors explain that while it seems multitasking is the ticket to fast-tracking work, you may actually be taking longer to complete tasks because of “constant context-switching, which can trigger brain shrinkage and short-term memory loss”, says Malhotra.

On the contrary, monotasking – as the act of mindfully focusing on one thing and being fully present – helps you feel more centred. More therapists are introducing their clients to activities such as “pause rituals”, “mindful tasking” and an “immersive work mode” to tackle multitasking-related fatigue.

“The first step is to recognise that multitasking is highly overrated. Practical results and countless studies prove this amply,” says Dr Prateek Parikh, a cognitive expert at Max Hospital in New Delhi.

To monotask effectively, the physician recommends that you decide on two tasks that absolutely have to get done over the span of a day. Commit a 20-minute block of time to a single activity, task or project by setting an alarm so you can concentrate. Reduce external distractions, such as noise and excess lighting. Choose a clean and quiet room with soft lighting, adding noise-cancelling headgear or playing music through your headphones to improve your focus and productivity. “You will automatically witness an improvement in the quality of your work and your own well-being,” Parikh suggests.

This approach to work, he says, is akin to mindfulness, which advocates staying with a single object of awareness for a period of time to train the mind to focus. “This also makes us feel less reactive to our surroundings and helps us to choose how to respond.”

As musical genius Mozart put it: “The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Wayne Rooney is bookies' favourite to replace Rafa Benitez at Everton

Former Everton striker Wayne Rooney has been tipped to take over at Goodison Park following the sacking of Rafa Benitez. Rooney, 36, has worked wonders at troubled Championship side Derby ... Read more »

Lowry and Baloucoune shine as Ulster advance into Champions Cup knock-outs

Northampton 20 Ulster 24 ULSTER HAVE THEIR Heineken Champions Cup destiny all in their own hands as they rubber-stamped their place in the last-16 of the competition with a 24-20 ... Read more »

What time is Dancing on Ice on ITV tonight?

Dancing on Ice is another one of the key reality show staples which viewers look forward to every year. It’s almost time to watch another bunch of celebrities attempt to ... Read more »

Liverpool and Man Utd 'rivalling' Real Madrid in bid to exploit Barcelona contract saga

Despite Barcelona being at the centre of a mass financial crisis, the Catalan side have still managed to sign Ferran Torres from Manchester City, and they are still in the ... Read more »

Grandparents could be entitled to state pension boost - are you eligible?

Those who are relied upon to help care for a child while the children’s parents go off to work may be able to earn more income while doing so. Through ... Read more »

"There is truth in it" - Sky Sports reporter now drops intriguing Tottenham transfer claim

Sky Sports reporter Michael Bridge has confirmed that Tottenham Hotspur want to sign Jesse Lingard from Manchester United. The club have been linked with a potential swoop to sign the ... Read more »

Liverpool fans rub salt in the wound with chant as Everton sack Rafa Benitez

Rafael Benitez ‘s name echoed around Anfield on Sunday afternoon as Liverpool fans revelled in the Spaniard’s Everton sacking. The Toffees dismissed Benitez after a shock 2-1 defeat to the ... Read more »

«Buongiorno, ich bin der vom Bunga Bunga»

Hat er Chancen auf die Präsidentschaft? Italiens Rechte schickt ihren alten Padrone ins Rennen – unter einer Bedingung. © Foto: Fabio Frustaci (EPA) Es gab Seebarsch und Artischocken: Silvio Berlusconi ... Read more »

Coronavirus: Österreich legt Gesetzentwurf für Impfpflicht ab 18 vor

Die Regierung von Bundeskanzler Karl Nehammer hat ihre Pläne für die Einführung einer allgemeinen Impfpflicht präsentiert: Mit wenigen Ausnahmen sollen sich ab Februar alle Erwachsenen gegen Covdi-19 impfen lassen müssen. ... Read more »

Andres Guardado goes viral after mocking Joan Jordan following Betis 2-1 Sevilla

The Copa del Rey clash between Betis and Sevilla was postponed on Saturday evening after Joan Jordan was hit in the head by an object thrown by a fan inside ... Read more »

MAFS UK's Marilyse shares gorgeous throwback snap from her beauty pageant days

© Provided by OK! Reality star Marilyse Corrigan has shared a gorgeous snap from her beauty pageant days. The Married At First Sight UK star took to her Instagram account ... Read more »

Nicola Ward leads the way as Kilkerrin-Clonberne advance to All-Ireland final

© Sportsfile Lynsey Noone of Kilkerrin-Clonberne under pressure from Donaghmoyne’s Hazel Kingham. NICOLA WARD SCORED the vital goals as Kilkerrin-Clonberne moved through to the currentaccount.ie All-Ireland senior club final with ... Read more »

Best bed sheets: 13 luxurious linens for blissful comfort

© Provided by Homes & Gardens best bed sheets Matouk Astor braid bedding A great sheet set can make or break your sleep.  While the best mattress is the foundation ... Read more »

Anurag Kashyap calls out casting 'scamster', says 'no season 3 of Scared games happening'

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has called out a fake casting profile on social media, which talked about casting for `Sacred Games` Season 3. Taking ... Read more »

Barshi stock market scam: ‘Vishal Fate wanted to become like Pablo Escobar, promised unprecedented returns to investors'

© Provided by Hindustan Times Prime accused in the ₹15 crore stock market scam, Vishal Fate, is currently absconding. (HT PHOTO) PUNE Prime accused in the ₹15 crore stock market ... Read more »

Mumbai sees a dip in new Covid cases, over 21,000 recover

© Provided by The Financial Express A total of 6,632 or 84 per cent of the new patients were asymptomatic. After logging over 10,000 COVID-19 cases per day for the ... Read more »

Only 1 rhino poaching case in Assam in 2021, lowest in 21 years

Rhinos In 2021, Assam witnessed one solitary case of rhino poaching. This is the lowest number of cases the state has seen in 21 years. According to government data, the ... Read more »

India Open 2022: Biggest World Tour tournament that I have won, says Lakshya Sen on title win

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: After winning India Open 2022, shuttler Lakshya Sen on Sunday said that he did get a little nervous and anxious towards the end of the ... Read more »

Maharashtra reports over 40,000 cases for fifth day in a row

© Provided by Hindustan Times The total number of Omicron cases in the state has reached 1,738. (ANI Photo) (ANI) Mumbai Maharashtra reported 41,327 fresh Covid-19 cases pushing the tally ... Read more »

Highlights, Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 1st ODI at Pallekele, Full Cricket Score: Sri Lanka win by 5 wickets

© Provided by Firstpost Highlights, Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 1st ODI at Pallekele, Full Cricket Score: Sri Lanka win by 5 wickets Toggle between the tabs above to switch between ... Read more »

Five steps that led to Rafa Benitez being sacked as Everton manager

Rafa Benitez has been sacked as Everton manager but what brought him to this point just half a season into his reign? Here are five factors why he departed Goodison ... Read more »

England are collapse specialists but Hobart ignominy sets new low

At least it was quick. The final ignominy over in less than two hours, from Rory Burns to Ollie Robinson with barely time for a scratch and a sniff: 10 ... Read more »

Serbia votes in a referendum on possible constitutional changes

Serbia held a referendum Sunday on constitutional amendments that the populist government says are needed for the Balkan country to advance in a bid to join the European Union. The ... Read more »

Transfer news LIVE: Chelsea eye Perisic swoop, Frenkie de Jong LATEST, Rafa Benitez SACKED by Everton – updates

THE January transfer window is OPEN, and deals are being completed all across Europe! Chelsea are aiming to make a big statement after reportedly making a £33.3m bid for Barcelona's ... Read more »

Peter Jackson's Beatles doc brings us back to that shared place we once belonged

The Beatles performing in a scene from the Disney+ documentary “Get Back.” Disney+ via AP Watching Peter Jackson’s documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” streaming on Disney+ was a split experience ... Read more »

2022 Australian Open women's odds, picks, predictions: International tennis expert fading Ashleigh Barty

A new wave of talented players has emerged at the top of women’s tennis, which means the 2022 Australian Open field is wide open. Australian Ashley Barty is the favorite ... Read more »

26,000 Hyundai Sedans, SUVs Recalled over Windshield That Could Detach

© David Dewhurst Photography/Hyundai The issue affects 2020 Elantra and Sonata sedans and 2020–2021 Santa Fe SUVs, which could lose their front glass in a crash—and clearcoat paint is the ... Read more »

French far-left presidential hopeful woos voters with jobs

The Associated PressFrench Far-left presidential candidate for the 2022 election Jean-Luc Melenchon gestures as he speaks during a meeting in Nantes, western France, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. Far-left French presidential ... Read more »

Bengals-Raiders refs not expected to work again this postseason after controversy

The officiating crew from Saturday’s AFC wild-card game between the Bengals and Raiders may be one and done this postseason. Referee Jerome Boger and those who officiated the first game ... Read more »

A timely move

In a timely move, the Philippines lifted the nationwide ban on open-pit mining which had been in effect since 2017.  Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III who pushed for the “revival ... Read more »

Dancing On Ice judges worry show is too much of a challenge for Bez after injuries

Judge Christopher Dean worries Bez has “bit off more than he can chew” with Dancing On Ice – after a series of bad falls. The Happy Mondays star will be ... Read more »

Australian Open schedule 2022: Full draws, TV coverage, channels & more to watch every tennis match

The first grand slam tennis tournament of the year, the Australian Open, begins on Monday, Jan. 17. The tournament has made headlines the last few months after announcing players would be ... Read more »

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has only himself to blame after Rafa Benitez farce and sacking

Even Farhad Moshiri, an owner notoriously tone deaf to the opinion of supporters and even his own board, couldn’t ignore the crescendo of anger any longer. In an emergency board ... Read more »

Met counter terror unit working with US over Brit in Texas hostage siege

© AFP via Getty Images US-CRIME-RELIGION-JUDAISM The gunman who held four people hostage during a 10-hour standoff with US police in Texas was a British national and Met counter terror ... Read more »

Enquiry made: NUFC must secure deal for "top-level" monster who's "one of the best" - opinion

© Provided by Football FanCast psg-newcastle-howe-premier-league-navas An update has emerged on Newcastle United’s efforts to sign Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas in the January transfer window… What’s the talk? According ... Read more »

Antonio Conte faces nightmare scenario as Tottenham battle with Arsenal, Man United and West Ham

Antonio Conte‘s Tottenham side are very much in the running for a Champions League spot ahead of the final few months of the season. However, there is going to have ... Read more »

'Disasterclass' - Many Liverpool fans slam 'non-existent' star who lost the ball 13x v Brentford

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Diogo Jota Liverpool Many Liverpool fans have been criticising the performance of Diogo Jota despite their 3-0 win at home to Brentford in the Premier ... Read more »

Darren Carter makes honest admission as Birmingham City Women thumped at Manchester United

Darren Carter admitted his Birmingham City Women side were brought back down to earth with a bump on a humbling afternoon at Manchester United. Fresh from a famous 2-0 win ... Read more »

Echtzeitdaten: Die neuen Pulsmesser unserer Wirtschaft

Man nennt es «Now-Casting»: Sofortprognosen revolutionieren die Konjunkturforschung – und verändern das Verhalten von Politik und Firmen. Soll der Bundesrat die Zertifikatpflicht weiter verschärfen? Oder gar Restaurants und Läden erneut schliessen? ... Read more »

With 18,286 new cases, Delhi's daily Covid-19 tally dips 11.7% from yesterday

© Provided by Hindustan Times A healthcare worker checks a Covid-19 infected patient at Shehnai Banquet care centre in New Delhi on Sunday.  (Shrikant Singh / ANI) Delhi on Sunday ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic