Issue 7 of How to Beat Procrastination
We’ve already discussed the importance of not expending our resources in order to manage a full day’s work. Your ability to concentrate is, as we’ve said, a “muscle” that gets more tired the more you use it. Now, let’s zoom in on a term that’s all too familiar for most of us: multitasking.
Multitasking, to put it simply, is rarely a good idea. Even though this behavior is widespread and often requested by employers, there is now a considerable body of research indicating that it has a negative effect on our productivity. Intuitively it may seem like a clever way of getting several things done at once, but studies show that the outcome rather is the opposite - by trying to focus on different tasks at once, it takes a longer time to finish them than if we’d tackled them separately.
Despite the negative effects of multitasking it is a behavior that most people engage in. When our brains experience a rapid influx of information it perceives that information as important to process, leading to an increased discharge of the neurotransmitter dopamine as a reward for our constant shifting of focus. As we’re surrounded by an increasing amount of distractions, this can have a devastating effect on our possibilities of getting things done, as well as our mental well-being. Thus, breaking the multitasking habit is a simple but important strategy for minimizing procrastination as well as making sure we stay healthy at work.
Discuss multitasking with a co-worker
You’ve now learned a few things about multitasking and how it can affect your work. Today I want you to discuss this phenomenon with a co-worker, for example over lunch or a coffee, to get his or her perspective on multitasking.
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How to Beat Procrastination
Having a hard time getting started with work that needs to get done? Do you wait until the last moment before you start working? Procrastination, or consciously postponing what should be done today, is less about personal traits than it is about behavior. In the same way that you once learned to always deal with tasks at the last moment, you can learn to act differently. With the help of psychological insights about motivation, rewards and distractions you can increase the probability of completing your tasks - on time.
In this course you will receive practical tips on how to change your approach to learned behavioral patterns, as well as how to achieve your goals through better structure, time management and problem solving. Getting things done on time doesn’t have to be exhausting - things like coffee breaks, encouragement and friends are some pleasant ways of making your tasks easier to deal with.
This course is based on scientific studies by leading researchers in the fields of motivation, goal setting and procrastination. You will be provided with exercises and principles of treatment from cognitive behavioral therapy within areas such as stress management and procrastination.
The creator of this course, Alexander Rozental, is a licensed psychologist, researcher at Stockholm University and co-author of the book Dansa på deadline (only available in Swedish).