Multi-Tasking, a thing of the past?

woman looking at phone

Multi-Tasking v. Uni-Tasking
freedigitalphotos, patrisyu

Multi-tasking used to be considered a skill worthy of practice; something to strive to excel in. Even before becoming a Time Management Coach I read that women were better at multi-tasking than men. (Now women die more from heart attacks than anything else. Just sayin’ )I read articles about how to multi-task and interviews with so-called “super achievers” who claimed that multi-tasking was one of the keys to their success. I tried multi-tasking and pairing different tasks that I could do at the same time. I was thinking that I could get more done by multi-tasking. I balanced a task that was mindless with one that needed more attention and focus.

The truth is that multi-tasking wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and that was before the days of computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. It was also before all of the technology became mobile and people were texting, emailing, calling, etc. from their vehicles and desks. It didn’t work then and in fact, it doesn’t work now! The devices aren’t the problem as we all know. Neither is social media, the internet or email. The results? Tasks don’t get adequate attention or done in the best way. The worst part is that instead of being present and enjoying the the process and outcome, we’re distracted from it. So why do we continue to multi-task? What is the alternative?

5 Problems related to multi-tasking:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Unclear goals
  • Insufficient planning and task analysis
  • Poor time estimation skills
  • Lack of delegation

As a Professional Organizer and member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) I meet so many people who want help with organizing and productivity. They complain about how little they actually get done every day. They are frustrated, overwhelmed, hurrying everywhere, and sleeping less. (Don’t get depressed, this gets better.) Read more in an article by Steven Aitchison, The Death of Multi-Tasking


Uni-tasking is getting high praise. I refer to this as my “1-at-a-time rule“. Work on 1 task at a time and in 1 space at a time. It’s an essential habit to create and maintain. Like all habits it takes time and practice to integrate. The benefits of Uni-Tasking:

  • Improved efficiency – you will get the 1 task done at a higher level of quality.
  • Increased productivity – you will find that you get more done in less time.
  • Reduced stress – you will feel more focused, calm, and notice more details.

Here’s your challenge…identify the 1 task or area that you want to focus on and practice. Post your 1 commitment and update me on Outside In Organizer and Makeovers Facebook page. I’d love to support your accountability.