Ever notice multi-tasking makes you feel drained, confused, and exhausted? Often, we multi-task in a way that mismatches our mind’s natural functioning. In this post, I explain 2 ways to multi-task better. Learn how to accomplish your goals with a clear mind!
We do mental work in a space called working memory.
Working memory uses units called “chunks.”
A chunk is a piece of information that you deem to be one unit.
Our working memory has the capacity to hold about 7 chunks (or a few more or less). Actually, the size of our working memory is called:
So we have 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 chunks to use at any given time. And that’s it.
Let’s say you’re trying to memorize an email address that someone just told you. You have your working memory available to hold that information. How will you organize the chunks?
If the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you have some options:
Each letter is a chunk:
Oh! That’s seven. No more room to memorize. Not the best method. What else can you do?
Use larger units, such as words and symbols:
There! The whole email address is memorized with only 5 chunks. That works great!
You have infinite options. For example:
How you chunk information up to you!
Multi-Tasking with Chunks
Multi-tasking takes place in working memory. (At least, the mental part does!) That means multi-tasking uses chunks.
When you do one task, for example task A, you bring up all of the task A chunks into working memory.
BUT if you’re multi-tasking, you’ll need to drop the chunks for task A and bring up the chunks for task B.
The problem is, when we’re multi-tasking, we constantly drop chunks and bring up new chunks. Over and over again. We never fully finish using chunks before we drop them.
This method means we spend a lot of time and mental effort simply moving chunks around, rather than completing work.
Thus, multi-tasking can be a lot of mental effort with few results.
Start Multi-Tasking Right: 2 Methods
So what to do? Start multi-tasking in a way that matches how your mind naturally works!
Here are two methods I use and recommend:
METHOD 1: FULLY TASKING
Fully tasking is the opposite of multi-tasking. It means bringing up all of the chunks you need, using them at that time, completing your task, then dropping the chunks forever. For example:
- Read email
- Decide answer
- Type answer
- Hit send
This has also been popularized as the “Touch It Once” method.
Read about the Touch It Once method here.
METHOD 2: MULTI-STACKING
Multi-stacking means to weave many small tasks together by fully completing a small task from column A before fully completing a small task from column B. Then switching back to A. Like this:
- Read and answer text 1
- Water plant 1
- Read and answer text 2
- Water plant 2
- Read and answer text 3
- Water plant 3
Stop Multi-Tasking Wrong
So there you have it! What multi-tasking is, how it works in the mind, how we often do it wrong, and two ways to do it better!
For more, check out the YouTube video I made on the topic:
What do you think about Multi-Tasking?
What do you think about my explanation of multi-tasking?
Would you ever try multi-stacking? I need to know!
–> Hop over to the comment section on this YouTube video, say hi, and let me know!! I can’t wait to hear from you 🙂
To get even more room in your consciousness, try the Consciousness Challenge, which I made for you! ↓
Thanks for reading.
Here’s to your success #multi-stacking
Dr. Erienne Weine
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