Be honest: None of us are as good as multitasking as we think we are. Research shows that it takes the brain of a multitasker 15 minutes to refocus on the task they were originally committed to completing.
Natalia Peart, is a clinical psychologist, business consultant, and author of the book FutureProofed: How to Navigate Disruptive Change, Find Calm in Chaos, and Succeed in Work & Life. She says that it is time to dispel the myth that being a “good multitasker” makes for more productivity in the workplace and for individuals personally when it’s actually the cause of burnout.
With over 25 years of experience problem solving for Fortune 1000 companies, nonprofits, and corporate America, Peart says that with the pace of people’s lives being quicker than ever, and the digital age, it is time stop championing the unproductive behavior of multitasking.
“We try to multitask; we realize it’s not working; we assume that we’re not doing it well enough—and so you know, what we do? We look for the next productivity tip, we look for the next hack,” says Peart.
And it simply does not work. “We exhaust ourselves some more until we’re completely burned out.”
Dr. Peart offers these tips to become a recovering multitasker to prevent burnout and prioritize yourself and your health:
- See it [life and assignments] as a series of sprints and not a marathon. — Our bodies and our brains can only absorb about 90 to 120 minutes until we’re going to need a break.
- Pay attention to your body. – If you need rest, rest. Do not caffeinate in efforts to get more done.
- Give yourself a quick break.– Get up, walk, clear your brain a little bit, let it rest, especially you know, those days where you have a lot happening and you’re just mentally fatigued.
- Don’t work against yourself, work with yourself.
- Take regular stretch breaks. – Take yourself away from your work, come back, you’ll be able to get more done.
“We always have a to-do list and we feel really good about checking stuff off but then we put off happiness because we’re always trying to figure out what’s that next thing to check off,” says Peart. To that point, she says that you should find time to restore yourself.