If you’re a proud multitasker, you could be in for a surprise. It’s been proven for a while now that multitasking actually makes you less productive.
“In experiments published in 2001, Joshua Rubinstein, PhD, Jeffrey Evans, PhD, and David Meyer, PhD, conducted four experiments in which young adults switched between different tasks, such as solving math problems or classifying geometric objects. For all tasks, the participants lost time when they had to switch from one task to another. As tasks got more complex, participants lost more time. As a result, people took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks. Time costs were also greater when the participants switched to tasks that were relatively unfamiliar. They got up to speed faster when they switched to tasks they knew better…Meyer has said that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.“
Source: Multitasking: Switching costs
In a nutshell, multitasking is one resource (your brain) being used to process multiple tasks at once. When you juggle or switch between tasks, there is a cost that is paid in productivity.
Even computers that seem to be amazing multitaskers, actually just give the illusion of doing multiple things at once. They simply switch between tasks thousands of times per second.
We simpleton humans can juggle tasks fast too, but it comes with the cost of our energy, focus, and time.
Sure, you may be able to multitask drinking your coffee while listening to music, but if you drive your car while texting, listening to music, AND drinking your morning coffee, you’re asking for trouble.
There are obvious limits to multitasking.
You’re needlessly splitting your focus and brainpower when you jump back and forth between tasks and lose efficiency.
We think multi-tasking is getting more done, but it’s actually slowing us down, and compounds with the more tasks we add.
This is inefficient and exhausting.
The solution? Simultasking…
Simultasking Rocks (and why I do this instead)
While I’m a hard worker, I’ll be honest, I’m inherently lazy.
So, Instead of multitasking and working harder, I prefer things to do themselves with simultasking.
What is Simultasking?
The Merriam-Webster definition of the word simultaneous is, “existing or occurring at the same time”.
When combined with tasks our definition of Simultasking is doing one task, while the first task is doing itself at the same time.
Instead of splitting your focus into two different tasks or jumping back and forth, we will have them set in motion to be done at the same exact time.
So rather than trying to “juggle” a task like making coffee and replying to that important email on your phone (which could lead to spilling hot coffee all over you). Instead, you get a coffee machine that can brew coffee for you while you handle the email.
The same two tasks get done at the same time, with minimal effort and without splitting your focus.
This simple shift takes just a little bit of planning ahead before you start a set of tasks, but it can easily double your productivity and save you more time in the long run.
How To To Double Your Productivity With Simultasking
The next time you have a to-do list in front of you, think about how you can have things do themselves while you handle a separate task.
Here are some real-life examples of Simultasking:
- Using a coffeemaker to brew coffee, while you send your boss an email.
- Putting that big file to download on your computer, while you go walk your dog.
- Have your laundry running in a machine, while you clean the house.
- Put rice to cook in a rice cooker, while you dice your veggies.
- Order Uber eats for future delivery before you go workout at the gym.
- Have a side business or investment that makes money, while you work your full-time job.
This can be applied to your career, finances, business, fitness and nearly all areas of your life.
While multitasking and simultasking are very similar, simultasking is a way of automating your tasks, by planning out ways to get tasks to do themselves, without you needing to juggle them manually at the same time.
The problem is, many tasks have to be done manually.
If you can’t find a way to automate the task to be done simultaneously, think about how you can delegate the task or hire someone to handle it for you. Like hiring someone to cut your grass while you do something more important with your time.
The good thing is this also sparks innovation.
Since the grass can’t cut itself, you need to do it yourself, have someone else do it, or build a machine to do it for you.
This is why we as humans throughout time have invented machines to do things for us.
So to solve the problem of manual tasks with Simultasking, we either delegate or automate through innovation.
With simultasking, you can reap the full benefits of multitasking without the side effects.
The goal is to delegate or automate the task to run simultaneously, while you do something else.
This is how successful entrepreneurs, elite athletes, captains of their industry, or just insanely-productive people seem to get so much done.
The next time you have something to do, ask yourself how you can “Simultask” it. Or put another way, “How can I get this task to do itself?”.
Once you find a way to simultask your to-do lists you can use all that extra time you free up to achieve more goals, or do the things you actually want to do. 😄