Monotasking: The Key to Productivity

When everything is fighting for your attention, how can you get anything done? Our electronics, social media, and an ever-growing to-do list are constantly looming in the back of our minds. Multitasking is a skill that many people have come to adopt in their adult lives, but is it beneficial? What if we tried the exact opposite, monotasking? If you find yourself easily distracted and your mind pulled in many different directions, then monotasking may be your key to productivity.

What is Monotasking?

Monotasking is the act of dedicating your focus to one thing at a time. It is the exact opposite of multitasking or taking on many things at once. Multitasking can cause added stress, decreased focus, and allow for more errors in the project or tasks that you are working on. In fact, studies show multitasking can have a negative impact on the brain over time. Monotasking makes simple the act of completing tasks. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, monotasking requires you to calmly and efficiently work on one thing at a time. 

The Benefits 

Slowing down and narrowing your focus on one task at a time is something that will take a lot of mindfulness and devotion in order to break habits that keep your mind moving in different directions. Without monotasking, your mind is essentially playing tug-of-war for your attention. Monotasking has many benefits such as: 

  • Accuracy of the task at hand 
  • Increase in productivity
  • Quality of work is increased
  • Lengthening your attention span
  • Improving relationships

Who could use Monotasking?

Every person could benefit from monotasking in one way or another. If you are an employee at a fast-paced company that has multiple projects on your plate at once, you may believe that the only way to achieve your goals is by completing multiple things at once. This is simply not the case. Everyone from students to parents, to seniors, can all benefit from focusing on one task at a time. 

How to start Monotasking

Getting started with monotasking means breaking habits and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Here are a few ways to get started! 

    • Reduce your distractions – This would include putting your phone away, not just on silent! If you have your phone in arm’s reach, you will be tempted to check it, which will send you down a rabbit hole of scrolling through apps.
    • Figure out the time when you are most productive – Whether it is at 6 AM before the kids wake up or at 10 PM, figure out a time where your focus can be honed in on one specific task.
  • Find one to two tasks that are most important – Focus on these tasks, one at a time. Once they are completed, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s okay to reward yourself with that.
  • Schedule downtime – Downtime is just as important to productivity as work time. According to the Cleveland Clinic, downtime is essential to allowing your brain to reset. 

Chronic Stress

We see the most benefits of monotasking when we look at its impact on our stress levels. Monotasking allows us to slow down and focus our brains. The calming effect that monotasking gives as well as accomplishing otherwise stressful tasks, allows our stress levels to decrease. Chronic stress can have major negative effects on both mental and physical health. For example, chronic stress can cause immune system issues as well as gastric ulcers. 

If you feel like your stress levels are taking a toll on your body. Talk to your doctor about other ways you can lower your stress.