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The Importance of Monotasking

by Steve McCabe
27 Apr 2020

Last week I was in the kitchen cooking dinner, typing up an email, responding to a message from my sister, uploading a picture to facebook and this happened


We spend so much time trying to do so much that we are not working at peak efficiency and not all tasks are completed to the best of your ability. 

For a while now we have had a focus on being able to multitask and complete several activities at the same time. We have been taught how to use different tools, create programs and use multiple devices to complete as many tasks as we can. However, studies have shown that multitasking can have a negative impact upon productivity.

Therefore, should we be learning the ability to do just one thing at a time? 

The answer is – yes. 

The problem worsens with our growing connection to our mobile devices, we are finding that our next working generation can not ignore their phones and have a constant need to feel "connected". With notifications a constant and instant feedback a requirement by many young people the negative impact on productivity is already evident in many workplaces. 

So how do we change this behaviour? 

A focus on monotasking. By ensuring that young people put their attention on one task at a time better accuracy and completion can be achieved. 

Some strategies to teach our students how to monotask effectively include: 

  1. Plan the work to be done. Chunk up your time and give yourself break times so you know when you will be stopping. 
  2. Put your phone away. Don't have it sitting near you where you can see the notifications flash up. 
  3. Use the Pomodoro Technique.
  4. Write a list of everything that would distract you from work and then spend time ensuring that it is all organised before you begin work. For example - finding the right music? Create a playlist. Thirsty? Have a bottle of water on your desk. Hungry? Snacks! 

Could Monotasking be an important employability skill for our future? My answer – yes.

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