I hear people say they are skilled at multitasking all the time. However, according to neuroscientists, our brains are not wired to multitask.  The ability to work on two two complex activities simultaneously is simply an illusion. People who believe they are multitasking are actually doing individual actions in rapid succession. Our brains cannot perform two cognitive functions at the same time.

But, why does this matter?

This matters because “multitasking” only hinders our success. Trying to complete more than one task at a time compromises our ability to complete the tasks without mistakes. Repeatedly switching back and forth from project to project prevents you from functioning at your finest. In reality, you are dividing your attention; not truly focusing on  anything. This can have negative effects on our attentiveness, increase your stress, and decrease your overall productivity.

Choose to do one thing at a time instead.

Take the career of a surgeon for example. The ability to perform a successful surgery is based on the ability to focus on a single patient and complete a series of tasks in order. Imagine if a surgeon tried to perform two surgeries at once. He would increase his stress, hinder his focus, and increase his chances of making a fatal mistake. Other careers might not have the same potential for a fatal mistake, but the concept is no different. Whether you are a truck driver, a teacher, an engineer, or a waitress, the ability to focus on one task at a time will help you to be more successful on each individual task and prevent making mistakes.

The idea of monotasking may seem impossible at first. The world we live in is full of distractions, and you have so many tasks to complete in a day. However, if you plan your schedule and minimize all distractions, you will be a more successful mono-tasker. If you have two projects to work on in a day, schedule time to work on each individually rather than bounce back and forth between projects. When you are working on a task, focus on one thing at a time, complete the task, and move on to the next task.

Remember, we perform best when we focus on one thing at a time. Give it a try. You won’t regret it.