5 ways to increase your productivity and get things done

why multitasking is myth, side-effects of multitasking and how to use the Pomodoro technique

Afroz Chakure
4 min readOct 26, 2022

You may have heard many jobs require you to multitask or specifically have it mentioned in the Job Description (JD) requiring multitasking as one of the needed skills.

But is multitasking even possible? What are some of the disadvantages of multitasking and how to overcome them? Read the blog to find out more.

What is multi-tasking?

Multi-Tasking refers to the notion that humans can split their time and attention across multiple things or tasks at the same time.

Popular examples of multi-tasking include, doing work while watching TV, talking on phone while driving, attending to multiple tasks at once during work, etc.

Common Terms when talking about Multitasking

The below are the 3 types of multitasking:

  1. Multi-Tasking —Trying to do 2 or more tasks at once.
  2. Context Switching — Switching back and forth between multiple tasks.
  3. Attention Residue — Performing multiple tasks in a short span one after the other.

Common side effects of multitasking:

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Although sometimes people pride themselves with their ability to handle many things at once, trust me it is a false notion to have. No person can multitask!

Below are some of the side-effects of multitasking:

  1. Reduced attention on a task leading to delayed work completion.
  2. Brain fog and lack of clarity when working which results into overwork and stress.
  3. Feeling tired all the time.
  4. Increased errors while working because of reduced attention.
  5. Short attention span which prevents a person from doing their best work.

Multitasking in humans and computers

In his book “The One Thing”, author Gary Keller when talking about difference in multitasking between computers and humans says,

“…Multitasking is a lie ….. Multitasking is about multiple tasks alternately sharing one resource (the CPU), but in time the context was flipped and it became interpreted to mean multiple tasks being done simultaneously by one resource (a person) … for even computers can process only a piece of code at a time …. like computers, what we can’t do is focus on two things at once.”

Solution: Do one thing at a time!

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

It is important to simplify the way we do work so that we don’t get swayed away with trying to achieve to much or too little.

  1. One way to do it is to focus on one task at a time and give it our utmost attention. Only move forward with other things once you’re done with the first task.
  2. Simultaneously working on 2 or even 3 things can be disastrous. Learn to say NO to additional tasks if you won’t be able to work on them right now!
  3. Break down tasks into small achievable goals and try to complete them while being in flow state.
  4. Ask for help when faced with doubts or feeling overworked
  5. Assign specific time and duration to give complete focused attention while working. Best way to do that is to do work while in a flow state.

Use Pomodoro Technique:

It is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. It makes use of a Pomodoro clock or a Tomato clock which usually lasts 25 minutes in duration.

A Pomodoro clock

Here are the steps behind the Pomodoro technique:

  1. First, decide what you want to complete or focus on.
  2. Set your clock for 25 minutes and give your utmost attention to completing the task.
  3. After 25 minutes, get up and take a short 5–10 minutes break.
  4. Repeat the above three steps for three Pomodoro intervals of 25 minutes each, followed by a short break.
  5. After the fourth 25 minute Pomodoro, take a long 20-30 minute break. Simply repeat from step 2 again.

If you don’t have a Pomodoro clock, download an extension for your Browser. For example, I use the tomato clock extension for firefox and chrome.

If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one

— Old Russian Proverb