Do you think you can do it all, and do it all at the same time? In these busy times, most people have become master multi-taskers. But is this really a good thing? It seems like we are being efficient by accomplishing many things at once but it turns out that we are doing ourselves a big disservice. Many studies have shown that we are actually less productive when we are multitasking, despite the fact that we think we are being more effective.
Zheng Wang, the author of a new study out of Ohio State University on multitasking and productivity, researched college students over a period of 1 month. The majority of the students reported doing several things at a time even though they were aware of the fact that it made them less productive. They reported doing this simply because it made them feel good. When we are busy we tend to feel better even if that activity causes us some level of stress.
Dr. Wang says that this increase in happiness is somewhat delusional. We only think we feel better doing many things all at once but in the long run simplifying our life is actually much more satisfying.
I couldn’t agree more.
How do you simplify your life? Begin by removing unnecessary distractions.
For some these distractions come in the form of clutter that makes them feel perpetually busy just organizing it. For others it is the propensity to procrastinate undertaking larger projects. It is often easier to do many small things, like answer emails and fold clothes, than to buckle down and tackle that major report or repair that will take much longer to accomplish – even though it will render a great deal more satisfaction.
Then there are the completely unnecessary tasks we saddle ourselves with, simply as a distraction and once again, so that we feel busy.
The key to not only being more efficient but more content is somewhat counterintuitive. We must slow things down a bit. Create manageable tasks and commit to their completion but relieve yourself of many of the tiny nagging details of modern life.
Resist checking those social networking sites or answering every phone call that comes in. Focus on what’s important and what gives you joy and make sure you schedule in time to relax and ignore your to-do lists.
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