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What is Monotasking?

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Photo Credit: Monstera from Pexels

Job burnout is a problem many nine-to-fivers and entrepreneurs face at some point in their careers. Some believe they need to give a 110% by working overtime, skipping lunch breaks, or accepting every project that comes their way. However, going above and beyond your job’s expectations or loading up on clients for your business is not always the best decision for your work performance or health.

The Effects of Hustle Culture

What motivates professionals to tire themselves out to achieve their goals? It’s hustle culture. Also known as burnout culture and grind culture, hustle culture “teaches us that there’s always more: more money to make, a bigger title or promotion, and a higher wall to climb.” [1] Social media, especially platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram, have several influencers that push the belief that you can only accomplish your professional goals by working 24/7 and taking little to no breaks. This mindset pushes many professionals to their limits, ultimately impacting their productivity levels and increasing the chances of burnout.

How Multitasking Negatively Impacts Professionals

One aspect of the hustle culture many professionals fall victim to is multitasking. Whether giving a presentation while answering emails or speaking with a client while working on a proposal, multitasking involves simultaneously performing more than one activity. Multitasking varies across different industries, though some professions, such as customer service representatives, may multitask more than others.

Some professionals believe that accomplishing several tasks in a small window of time is a great way to get things done quicker. However, the human brain cannot efficiently perform more than one task.

Thus, multitasking can lead to: [2]

  • Anxiety and stress

  • Attention and memory issues

  • Inhibition

  • Less socialization with co-workers

  • Loss of productivity

  • Mental blocks

  • Time inefficiency

While multitasking has spread across all aspects of an individual’s personal, academic, and professional life, it’s not an efficient strategy to accomplish tasks or goals. Instead, adopting other methods, like monotasking, is preferred.

Defining Monotasking

A great alternative to multitasking is monotasking. This strategy, also known as single-tasking, breaks down each task into smaller pieces to get things done productively. Monotasking is “the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a period of time has elapsed.” [3]

The benefits of adopting monotasking include:

  • Increased productivity

  • Decreased workload

  • Improved time management

  • Quicker task completion

  • Energy conversation

  • Increased retention of information

  • Lowered stress levels

  • Higher job satisfaction

How to Monotask

So, how do you implement monotasking into your job or business to improve time management and organization?

Here are four ways you can begin monotasking:[4]

Plan for monotasking

Before beginning any task, it’s essential to figure out how you plan to achieve it. Ask yourself the following questions to guide your planning.

  1. What in particular am I trying to accomplish?

  2. Why is this task important to me?

  3. What challenges may I face in completing this task? How will I address them to continue working on my goal?

Once you have finished your task, answer the following questions:

  1. Did I make any progress?

  2. Did any issues arise that I need to address?

  3. What should be my next step?

You should write down your responses to these questions and refer back to them when necessary. Then, when you work on your next task, you’ll figure out what methods work best for your time management.

Get rid of distractions

It’s difficult to complete work efficiently if distractions surround you at your job or in your office at home. To succeed at monotasking, you should be in a quiet and peaceful work environment.

To eliminate distractions:

  • Turn off or silence your phone

  • Close the door to your office (if allowed)

  • Use software to lock down your browser

  • Have an additional desktop to separate browsers or programs

  • Listen to calming music or white noise

Establish time limits

It’s challenging to focus on one task for an hour straight. With this in mind, set time blocks so you can take breaks. The Pomodoro technique is an excellent strategy for increasing your productivity. With this time management technique, you work in 25-minute segments, followed by a five-minute break. “A 25-minute Pomodoro session is long enough to get a little work done but not so long that it feels painful or overwhelming.” [5]

You can set a timer on your phone or desktop to notify you when you need a break.

Clear your mind

Are you often overloaded with a bunch of thoughts during the day? If so, clearing your head before starting a task may help you work more efficiently. Jot down all of your thoughts and store your notes somewhere where you can easily access them. After your brain dump exercise, you should feel relieved of unwanted thoughts and focus on one task at a time.

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1 Comment

Pooja Kakde
Pooja Kakde
Sep 01, 2023

I totally agree with you on monotasking. It's a great approach to balance work and personal life without feeling overwhelmed or distracted. I find that I can get more done and enjoy what I do when I focus on one thing at a time. Love your blog! Keep it up!👏💯

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