Multitaskers Beware: Lack of Focus Means Poorer Brain Health
Are you a chronic multitasker? Most small business owners – including most Realtors – pride themselves on their ability to keep many proverbial balls juggling at once. Chances are you’re multitasking right now; several browsers open at once, checking email and text messages on your phone, and maybe even listening to a podcast while you’re at it. But contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t make a person more efficient; it does just the opposite. Multitasking can actually slow your productivity and harm your brain.
The Myth About Multitasking
According to a 2012 Psychology Today article by Dr. Susan Weinschenk, recent studies find that multitasking can decrease your productivity by up to 40%. That’s because our brains aren’t built to handle switching back and forth between one task and another. Even the term “multitasking” is inaccurate. Our brains don’t allow us to focus on more than one task at any given time. Therefore, the term we should be using is “task switching,” a rapid changing from one task to another.
Human brains are wired to focus on one cognitive function at any given time. When we try to switch our focus from one task to another, it takes time for our brains to adjust to the new stimulus. While it only takes a fraction of a second for our minds to recover, these seconds add up to serious time wasted during our workday.
Science Finds Multitasking Is Bad for Brain Health
Multitasking isn’t just bad for business; it’s also bad for brain health according to a 2009 Stanford research study. While many self-identified multitaskers swear they have superior cognitive abilities, the Stanford study finds precisely the opposite. Most multitaskers performed more poorly on cognitive and memory tests than their single-tasking counterparts.
Why? Researchers concluded that the multitaskers’ brains were bombarded with “irrelevant information.” Essentially, we spend less brain power processing important information and committing it to memory, and more brainpower trying to sift through multiple irrelevant stimuli. This processing shift can cause cognitive and memory problems over time.
Tips to Stay Focused
For those of us who live our lives in multitasking mode, it can be difficult to train our brains to focus on one task at a time. Implementing a few changes to your daily routine can help you focus more intently, increasing your productivity and boosting your brain function.
Let technology multitask for you
Instead of using technology as a distraction, use it as a tool to help you stay on track. The Internet offers a plethora of tools to help small businesses run more efficiently. Here are a few of our favorite tools for small business success:
- Create an effective and well-maintained website and use a Real Estate WordPress theme. First, choose a high-quality and reputable hosting service that will take care of technical problems for you. Then, install a user-friendly WordPress theme like Agent Focused Pro or Winning Agent Pro. Both of these Real Estate WordPress themes make buying and selling real estate easier for both broker and buyer.
- Download CRM software. Customer Relationship (CRM) software is a game-changer for real estate agents and other small business owners. Set up your CRM software to automatically email clients, post to social media, and update contacts. It’s like your own personal virtual assistant.
Establishing a work/life balance isn’t just good for your mental and emotional health; it’s also beneficial to your productivity and brain health, too. Even a few minutes of mindfulness can make a drastic difference in your day.
If you’re drowning in a sea of to-do lists, it might be time to consider hiring some outside help. Both licensed and unlicensed real estate assistants can help lighten your workload significantly.
Unplug from electronics
Research on the habits of highly successful people found that most of the wealthiest Americans don’t spend hours online. On the contrary, they spend time reading, reflecting, planning, and learning. Our brains need silence to successfully process all the information we receive every day. Give yourself time and space away from your cell phone, computer, and television.
We have often heard that busy is better; that multitasking is a skill. As it turns out, that’s not what’s best for productivity or brain health. By focusing intently on each task and incorporating some brain-boosting daily practices, you can get more done in less time.
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