And multitasking doesn't even mean doing two tasks at once. Unless you are a computer with two brains (dual-core processors), no person can really "multitask" two things at once. The equated "Multifocus = multitasking" doesn't exist. We can only do one cognitive task at a time.
Real multitasking involves task switching or switching your focus swiftly at one task to another. But remember the studies. These multiple focuses cause cognitive switching penalty.
Our brains have to adapt to a certain task while we switch. It has to gather information and context again that causes delays and, ultimately, mistakes in your output for both assignments.
Moreover, studies have shown constant switching drops productivity by as much as 40%. If you think you are doing more, think again.
Having said that, you should not demonize multitasking just yet. There are three instances where you can harness a couple of benefits from multitasking. These are as follows:
There are certain tasks that we do so much; it's ingrained in our muscle memory. For example, you are tabulating some formulas and data for your clients.
You did it so many times, you can watch a Kdrama, switch from reading a book, or attacking in your mobile game while creating the cleanest spreadsheet. If its muscle memory already, your mind is freed up from concentrating to accomplish it.
When we try to master or create something, the focused mode is when we delve into extreme concentration to finish the tasks. But in this mode, we have patches of time that we can't think of other things to add or to improve on. There seems to be no solution.
This is where the diffused mode comes to play. The diffused mode is when we let our subconscious mind do the work while we do other things.
For example, remember that instance where after working so hard, you just took a break and exercised. And in your detached exercised session, you are not thinking about your work. But suddenly, you just had a eureka moment! You suddenly know what to do! It came out of nowhere. You solved your problem while lifting weights. Does this magic even make sense?
Based on science, it’s a resounding yes! That's your subconscious working on your tasks. When you try to multitask with these two modes in mind, that shift from focused mode to diffused mode will give you great output for your clients.
That scheduled break isn’t a productivity deterrent after all.
Most of the time, we can't really multitask effectively. Although in just this few instances, we can certainly way benefit from it. I hope this can improve your productivity in your freelance journey!
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