I find that I—as well as many people I know—fall into a very dangerous trap. I call it The “Work” Trap. What is it? It’s both a procrastination technique and a way of staying in your comfort zone while feeling or seeming productive.
You fall into the trap when you forgo other, perhaps…
Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work?
It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.
What we’ve lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Technology has blurred them beyond recognition. Wherever we go, our work follows us, on our digital devices, ever insistent and intrusive. It’s like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.
Tell the truth: Do you answer email during conference calls (and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? Do you bring your laptop to meetings and then pretend you’re taking notes while you surf the net? Do you eat lunch at your desk? Do you make calls while you’re driving, and even send the occasional text, even though you know you shouldn’t?
The biggest cost — assuming you don’t crash — is to your productivity. In part, that’s a simple consequence of splitting your attention, so that you’re partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one. In part, it’s because when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent.
Walking to work, brushing your teeth
When does it happen?
When do you do your best thinking?
It used to (and still might be for most) be in the shower.
But I suspect the places and activities that spur our best thinking are now more varied and more individual than before. Why? Because we have more tools to record our thoughts and more topics/personal themes to think about in a more stimulated and complex world.
Oh and we have electric toothbrushes so you can walk around your house brushing your teeth without being a slob and soil the floor.
Where do you think the best? And what other task are you performing at the same time?
Everybody multitasks. We have conversations while driving. We answer email while browsing the Web. It’s hard to imagine living any other way. What would be the alternative, removing the seats from your car to ensure you only drive alone? Block every website not named Gmail? A world of constant single-tasking is too absurd to contemplate.
But science suggests that multitasking as we know it is a myth. ”Humans don’t really multitask,”said Eyal Ophir, the primary researcher with the Stanford Multitasking study. “We task-switch. We just switch very quickly between tasks, and it feels like we’re multitasking.”