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HR Tip of the Month

Multitasking is a myth! Human brains simply cannot pay attention to two things at once. Instead, our focus operates like a flashlight, which can illuminate a thing over here or a thing over there, but not both at the same time. When we ask someone to multitask, they are just switching their focus back and forth between the two (or more) tasks. And the act of constantly switching focus makes a person worse at all of the tasks they are attempting to tackle. Task-switching can double the amount of time a task takes and usually more than double the number of mistakes that will be made. And over time, this constant task-switching hinders our ability to focus on a single task even when the other stimuli are removed.

Our tip? Whenever possible, structure your workday—and the workdays of your employees—so you can focus on one task at a time. For instance, only having your email program open for 10 minutes every hour, or 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the afternoon, will eliminate the constant distraction (and refocusing of your flashlight) caused by desktop notifications and the temptation of replying instantly. Limiting access to social media, turning off notifications on your smartphone or desktop, and closing unnecessary windows are other simple ways to help you keep your focus where it belongs and maximize your productivity.

Content provided by TPC HR Support Center.