For a long time, you have probably been repeatedly told how important it is to master the art of multi-tasking. Balancing multiple projects at one time and keeping your attention on everything at once is more productive, right? Not necessarily. In a study published in 2014, it was found that interruptions as brief as two or three seconds, enough time to glance at your email or cell phone, was enough to double the amount of errors made by participants in assigned tasks.1 There are reasons to move away from multitasking and adopt monotasking instead. Your human resources career is a great place to demonstrate to others why monotasking is beneficial to the success of the company.
Here are few reasons why you should start monotasking and how you can incorporate it into your work:
Why You Should Monotask
So, what, exactly, is research saying about monotasking versus multitasking? Well, it’s saying our brains actually can’t multitask. Unlike our phones, tablets and computers that have multiple apps running at one time, our brains don’t work like that. Although our brains have billions of neurons and connections, we cannot successfully do multiple things at the same time. Unfortunately, multitasking does not exist, at least not the way we think we understand it. Instead, we switch tasks. Our brain chooses which information to process. In a sense, multitasking is merely a constant string of distractions we face throughout the day, which are often caused by technology.
A 2016 University of California, Irvine study claimed, “A potential consequence of multitasking is that shorter focus duration positively correlates with lower assessed productivity at days' end. This is consistent with interviews that describe that switching activities has a cost, e.g., in doing redundant work.”
By multitasking, you pay less attention to each individual project you are working on, and it takes you longer to complete these projects. When you begin your human resources career, employees from top to bottom in the company will be counting on you. If you succumb to distraction – a.k.a. multitasking – you are not just hindering your career. Your increased mistakes may also hinder the careers of others.
How You Can Start Monotasking
To put it simply: plan ahead and set boundaries.
According to Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, incorporating monotasking into your daily life may be easier than you think.
“Start by blocking out a period of time to focus. Eliminate as many distractions as possible … Don’t try [monotasking] by willpower alone; it’s too hard to fight the thirst for new information,” Miller said. “If you find yourself unable to concentrate, try taking a short break and move around. Increasing blood flow to your brain can help restore focus.”2
Distractions throughout your human resources career, especially technological demands, are going to happen. So, it’s up to you to learn how to keep interruptions from happening before they happen. Admit to yourself that not all information you absorb is useful. Plan ahead and decide which communications are interruption-worthy and which are not. If employee interruptions are acceptable, leave your office door open. If texts and social media notifications are not, put your phone on mute and out of sight.
Take Your Human Resources Career to the Next Level
As an HR professional, you will play a big role in employee development and contributing to enhancing the company’s efficiencies. Demonstrate these efficiencies in your own work by adopting monotasking. This skill, paired with the skills and knowledge you can gain from Grantham’s Human Resources Management (Bachelor of Business Administration) degree, can allow you to succeed in your human resources career.
If you are ready to take the first step toward your future in human resources, contact us today!
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