Humans are terrible at multitasking. We’re so terrible that we literally can’t multitask. At best, we can context-shift and automate.
When we think we’re multitasking, we’re nearly always switching our singular focus between multiple contexts. Each switch comes at a disproportionate cost in focus and efficacy. Split between two tasks, for example, yields less than half the results for each task and burns the rest of our mental energy on switching. If you want your best results, stick to singular tasks.
We can automate tasks on a subconscious level. After enough time behind the wheel, for example, each individual subtask of driving becomes second nature. And sure, you could teach yourself to both drive and read your phone nigh-simultaneously, but you run the disproportionate risk of having a (potentially fatal) accident far out of proportion to your small savings in effort. Best to focus on automating the subtasks that all fall under the same larger task.
More than anything, focus on the one thing. Whether it’s the task immediately in front of you (like reading this blog post) or the one priority that outranks everything else on your agenda today (finishing that slide deck before tomorrow’s presentation), focus on that task and everything else will follow. We’re terrible at multitasking, so mono-task instead.