Monotasking is one of those words you hear and quickly dismiss as nonsense. After all, we live in a world where we don’t have time to dedicate 100% of our time to one thing. Right? Multitasking has always been the way to go. But for today’s Freedom Friday post, I want to talk about monotasking vs. multitasking and the benefits of doing one thing and doing it well.
Let’s get some of the definitions out of the way first.
Multitasking: The handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person.
Monotasking: The handling of one task at one time by a single person.
For a long time I’ve been a proponent of multitasking. Who wouldn’t be? The mere definition entices the idea that someone can become twice as productive as, say, performing one task at a time.
But how effective are we when we tackle more than one task at a time? Let’s put it this way, if you have a 24-hour day, it is physically impossible to squeeze 48 hours from it. Experts disagree. Who hasn’t written an email while on the phone? Who hasn’t prepared a post while chatting in a meeting? Who hasn’t checked the sports scores while supposedly researching for their next assignment?
There’s this movement taking place in social circles called Tabless Thursday. It promotes monotasking by encouraging everyone to ditch the tabs in their browsers and work in one window for the entire day. The movement supports one’s ability to produce quality work at the risk of ignoring efficiency.
I’m all up on these interesting trends and for years, I’ve been an efficient multitasker. For instance, I’ve written posts, watched TV and read all at the same time. Don’t ask me if I remember any of it because I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told my wife when she asks me if I hear her voice while I’m reading an article on the internet. The answer is a resounding no. Oh, I’m sure I was efficient, knocking off tasks from my to-do list as if they were all important, but how good had I produced the work on a scale of 1-10?
Multitasking serves its purpose in an aggressive environment where products have to go out the door quickly. However, monotasking has its purpose, too.
Whenever I have to get something important finished, I now turn off the phone, disconnect the internet, hide my task bar on my laptop, and type furiously at my keyboard until I’m done. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish without interruption.
The other argument for monotasking pertains to the quality of work. This, I can’t judge. I can only go by the reaction of the audience to see if my monotasking ways are effective. All I know is I can get the work done at a faster pace considering I have fewer distractions to keep me from accomplishing my goal.
What are you, a multitasker or a monotasker?
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What do you think of monotasking? How would you go about adding monotasking in your workflow?