Multitasker? You’re hired. It is evident that PR professionals are the champions of multitasking. In a constantly evolving industry, PR professionals are invariably thinking about enhancing their client’s brand. How can I boost their media relations?  What pitch is going to entice the media? Minute after minute, second after second, PR professionals are energizer bunnies, quickly thinking outside the box and juggling many projects… all at once.

But, how many times do you only focus on ONE task? Cue the crickets. I know; it’s easy to be consumed with a million different tasks, and not prioritize one task over another. According to Gloria Mark, professor of informatics at the University of California–Irvine, “We’re in this environment in the workplace where it’s a structure that’s set up by the technology that makes it really difficult for people to monotask.”

But, maybe multitasking should take a backseat to monotasking occasionally. It turns out, humans have finite neural resources that are depleted every time we switch between tasks, which, especially for those who work online, can happen upward of 400 times a day. That’s why you feel tired at the end of the day. That’s right; “brain dead” is a real thing.

It’s time to put the juggling circus act to rest. Multitasking is an illusion. People may actually get more done if they concentrate on one task at a time. Switching frequently between tasks, or believing that you are actually doing more than one thing at once, will actually slow you down.

Say goodbye to calling your co-worker while typing an e-mail and checking your Facebook page, and hello to monotasking.

Monotasking, also known as single-tasking, is the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed.

As a matter of fact, monotasking also propels truly innovative thinking by allowing our brains to follow a logical path of associated thoughts and ideas. This is more likely to happen when we can focus on a single mental pathway for an extended period.  The more we focus on one task at a time and ignore distractions, the more we exercise the prefrontal cortex, the more evolved part of our brains. Over time, monotasking will be involuntary, that Facebook or email notification won’t even faze you.

You heard it here; sometimes even the most successful energizer bunnies need to slow down.

 

-Lauren, labbott@quixotegroup.com

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