Multi-taskers: Let’s Get Real

On Monday, I stared blankly at my lengthy to do list and was suddenly overwhelmed and angered by my lack of productivity the week before. I couldn’t settle for this. I’m better than this.

So I wrote out a set of resolutions. Then I tested them for a week to see if I could stick to them.

In truth, I failed. I still have a long way to go. But I still made progress on that to-do list. And I think this might help other sufferers of chronic multi-tasking.

Note – this relates to those working at their desk and juggling several jobs, tasks or processes at once…. If you’re washing the dishes and listening to an audiobook or plotting your novel, that sort of “multi-tasking” is a bit different.


Multitasking leads to a 40% drop in productivity and 10% drop in IQ. (Don’t know about you, but I can’t afford that sort of loss…) Source: Bergman 2010 Harvard Business Review.

You’re not doing “multiple tasks at once” – you’re switching from one thing to another very rapidly. And it hurts your brain.

Let’s not fool ourselves. We might be getting more done, but is it the quality and caliber we want? I know mine isn’t. I can do better. I will do better. Multi-tasking isn’t a glorious badge of honor. It is a cop-out. It isn’t worth it.

So, let’s change it .


  1. Do one task at a time. Finish it {entirely} before moving on.
  2. Slow down. Let your hands rest during or in between tasks. Still yourself from instantly checking your phone or social media profiles. Be still.
  3. Turn off any alerts that divert your attention from the task at hand.
  4. Discipline yourself and make most of the time you have. Respect yourself and your deadlines (self-imposed or not.)
  5. Let your results motivate you to continue these steps. Let quality preside.

In the words of Jon Acuff: Let’s be a generation of people who finish their commitments and their dreams. 

“Finished dreams change the world.” – Jon Acuff 

Finish those dreams step by step, by focusing and doing good work.

Will you commit to these things? Comment if you’ll give it a try, and please let me know how it goes! I’ll give updates, too!

More about Nicole

Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks

  • Sandra Ardoin

    That first one is difficult for me, Nicole, and slides into the second one. Let’s face it, we all need to slow down and concentrate on the quality of our work, but it’s hard when the list keeps growing longer and longer.

  • NicoleMillerbooks

    I hear ya. I’m still struggling with all of this. But I think it also comes down to knowing what priorities to put first – and no matter how long the list gets, focusing on the most pressing, most important first and all by itself.

    We can do it, Sandy!! 🙂