Inspired this morning by Entrepreneur Magazine’s 3 Easy Tricks to Improve Your Memory, I’d like to first focus on Art Markman’s (cognitive psychologist and author of Smart Thinking) phrase “The human mind doesn’t multitask really, it timeshares”.
I’ve long taught that multitasking is not an effective way to work if you desire a qualitative outcome. If you accept that your results can be mediocre at best, then by all means multitask, otherwise, focus your work and distribute non-like-minded tasks through alternating work sprints.
Work sprints are 60-90m concentrated periods of time where you focus on one big, or multiple co-related and like-minded tasks. The human brain’s maximum period for consecutive concentration is +/- 20m. Your fully productive capacity (above 80%) is 60/90m depending on your health & well-being state. After the 60/90m period is when your mind typically wonders and you start thinking about everything else but work. That’s when you need a quick 10/15m “recovery break” before getting back onto your next work sprint.
Try knocking out your 2nd or 3rd work sprint before lunch & watch how much more productive you become! It just takes a little discipline & self-awareness.. but the rewards will be well worth it.
BONUS Tip; Each time you break your concentration, it’s take the brain +/- 6-8m to get back to the peak performance it was at when it was interrupted. If you’re looking to be a top performer, that means blocking out all distractions before you start your next work sprint. That’s what’s commonly referred to as “tunnel vision” or “flow” when you speak to top performers.