Everybody wants to be more productive – but many of the efforts we make to be so are counterproductive. The working mind is a complex thing, and science has found that the most useful hacks for improving productivity are not always as intuitive as you might expect.
Multi-tasking is one such example. The celebrated Stanford University professor of communication Clifford Nass was a multitasking expert, and he set up a lab to experiment on so-called ‘chronic multi-taskers’ with a particular focus on those dividing their attention across multiple media.
“[O]ur brain can’t do two things at once,” Nass found. “It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking.
“They’re terrible at ignoring irrelevant information; they’re terrible at keeping information in their head nicely and neatly organized; and they’re terrible at switching from one task to another.”
Nass likened multitaskers to overflowing, disorganized file cabinets. And he very clearly pointed out that doing one thing at a time is a lot more efficient than the metaphorical or real tabs we keep flicking between in an attempt to be super-productive.
What should you do instead of multi-tasking? Close down unnecessary distractions – that includes any virtual conversations you have on the go in the background. Focus on one task at a time. And meditate regularly to train yourself to focus. Intensive meditation can help you improve your attention span and other cognitive powers.
We’ve identified thirteen such research-backed productivity-busting activities and suggested remedies to help you work efficiently and to a high standard without overreaching your deadlines. Some of these familiar behaviours may seem like good habits, but they’re just the reverse.
How many of these productivity mistakes are you guilty of? Change your working routine today and you’ll soon see your productivity levels soar.
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