Have you ever thought that multitasking like a boss meant you were a super hero? How many things are you doing at once right now? Are you driving, running, eating, working or on the toilet? I want to talk to you about the detrimental affects of context switching or more commonly known as multitasking.
You can watch on here if you so please: Watch Here
Context switching is a term used in computing however more recently has been looked into by experts in relation to human beings. “Context switching occurs when an operating system stores the state of an application thread before stopping the thread and restoring the state of a different (previously stopped) thread so its execution can resume. The overhead incurred by a context switch managing the process of storing and restoring state negatively impacts operating system and application performance.” (Read on here)
Context switching is prevalent today and I bet you don’t even know it’s occurring daily in your life! It happens when you have more than one project on at a time. Sounding like someone you know? Well to make it even more relevant to you, it occurs when changing from tab to tab on your web browser or when someone retweets you on twitter and your phone goes off! (Ps. Follow me here)
Now it’s obvious that if you have one single project on, then 100% of your focus is dedicated to that project. Therefore you’d think that by multitasking between 2 projects it would incur a 50/50 effort split right? Wrong. If you have one project on you are able to give 100% of your time and effort to that project but as soon as you add a second project you don’t get the same return. You actually only return about 40% effort per project and therefore end up losing around 20% because you have switched contexts. This occurs because your brain is trying desperately to figure out where one project finished up so it can pick up where you left off and dive back into it again.
If you’re anything like me you’re doing you’re absolute best to maximise your time by doing multiple things at once. And we all know what it feels like to think ‘Oh I must reply to that clients txt’ so you open your phone and instantly see Instagram notifications and think ‘I’ll quickly check those’ only to be stuck there 10 minutes later because you were tagged in a video by a friend, which then reminded you that you were going to post a photo of your cat and then you realise you hadn’t even replied to the client txt message that you first opened your phone for!
Or you’ve always got a million tabs open in your web browser like me, and it’s just so temping to click across and refresh your site analytics to see how many visitors are on your site etc.
It’s been found that when you begin taking on more than 2 projects your percentage of effort begins to really drop. If you have 5 projects on the go the effort you’re able to give to those is now less than 10% because it’s being lost switching between projects.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about context switching and you take this on board, you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt for about the next week while you continually find yourself flicking across different tabs, opening up your phone when it dings and reading and replying to unimportant or urgent emails. The thing is, it’s crucial to understand this if you want to live a productive life where every ounce of your energy counts towards the project in front of you! It’s all about self awareness and focus.
It’s all about focus. The person who can focus the best, wins. Simple.
How many things are you doing right now? Leave me a comment and let me know. I want to know OR what are somethings you usually try and multitask on a regular basis??
I hope this has opened your eyes to the time waste that is going on every day because our attention is being stolen by people from all over. I want to challenge you before you go with this question - What can you ignore more of to move forward?
I hope you feel challenged to focus with tunnel vision so you can achieve more with the time you've been given!
I hope you're winning today and as always please feel free to reach out on any of the networks (or just stalk me, whatever floats your boat).