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Increase Your Productivity: The Benefits of Single Tasking

Updated on September 12, 2012

I’m a mother of five, so believe me, I know about multi-tasking. I’m a pro at trying to juggle dinner, homework, the barking dog, and the whining baby. I was a pro at multi-tasking, until I discovered a better way to do things. I now believe that in most cases, single tasking helps me get more done with less stress and with better quality results. This is applicable both to family life and to work life. Many people believe that multi-tasking is the only way to be more productive with your time. I disagree and here’s why:

  • When you multi-task, your time is divided among your many tasks throughout the day. You may end the day having done a lot of work, but with not much to show for it. Often you may not have even completed one task. This can be disappointing to reach the end of the day and not be able to cross many items off your list.
  • Because your attention is focused on many items, you may be more prone to make errors because you are trying to do too many things at once. Also, the quality of the work that you complete may be acceptable, but is it truly your best work? We should all be striving to do our best for our families and for our job. Not performing your best work can affect your performance evaluations and your potential for growth in your career.
  • Working on multiple tasks at once is more stressful. Your brain is working much harder to maintain quality on more than one item. You are more tired at the end of the day.

How to single task:

A To-Do-List is still an important way to begin your day. Write down what tasks you need to complete, but instead of working on multiple items at once, you will select your highest priority task and focus on it until it has been completed. If you are at the office, remove all other items from your desk, except the one that you are working on. If you are home, put everything else aside and focus on the one household task that you are doing. Once the one item has been completed, move on to the next. Perform your work carefully and use your best effort.


  • You will achieve more and have a better sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
  • You will have performed your work at the best of your abilities, because you were focused.
  • You will be calmer and less stressed, because your brain did not have to work as hard.

Single tasking is achievable even in the office where you may have many responsibilities. Setting priorities is the best way to approach this. You will find that your deliverables will be better and you will produce better quality work. By focusing on the highest priority items first, you will ensure that you are still meeting the timelines required in your position.

Try single tasking and see what difference it can make in your day. Share your results with us!


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    • vox vocis profile image


      5 years ago

      Multi-tasking usually works for me, but I must agree that you are more prone to mistakes when you exaggerate. For example, my dinner burned more than once while I was ironing (sigh). I try to do single-tasking when cooking is concerned!

    • crystaleyes profile image


      6 years ago from Earth

      Loved your article, Multi-tasking leaves you tired and exhausted, and at the end of the day, you realize that you have forgotten so many things while multi-tasking. I completely agree with you. Multi-tasking at home, work, leaves you with a headache and sloppy work, unless you are extremely pro at it.. Thanks ..Voted up and useful..

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      I've thought for some time that multi-tasking was a bad idea, for all the reasons you've explained nicely here in your hub. Even when you're working on one thing, your subconscious is aware of the pressure that you ought to be doing three other things as well. No wonder people are stressed out at the end of the day or the end of their shift.

      Voted up and Shared.

    • cperuzzi profile image

      Christopher Peruzzi 

      6 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      Such simplicity in that. We're so focused on multitasking that nothing gets done. Sometimes its best to take one thing at a time.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Rated WAY up on this one...I recently have been focusing on single tasking and LOVE it. Although there are times when one must multi task, it is far healthier, I believe, and much more enjoyable to single task. Thanks for sharing this and I will do likewise.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      I love this! Being one-mindful, or single-tasking, is a component of mindfulness practice extolled by Buddhist teachings and is becoming more and more a part of the regime recommended by mental health professionals for reducing anxiety. I find that I do make more mistakes when I'm trying to do too many things at once - I am naturally much better at focusing on one thing at a time but always feel pressure to "get more done, now." Voted up!

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      6 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      I am a former Legal Secretary who really believes in single tasking at work. However, when it comes to housework, I am a multi-tasker all the way. Thanks for a good hub.

    • Top Rated Recipes profile image

      Top Rated Recipes 

      6 years ago

      Doing less accomplishes more! I love it!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      6 years ago

      I am all for this!! I even have my daily to do list... although children don't always let you finish something before they require your attention... as I'm sure you know ^_^ I usually stop whatever I'm doing, focus on them and then pick up where I left off. Less stress? you bet! ^_^ voting and sharing!

    • Natashalh profile image


      6 years ago from Hawaii

      I love it! Studies show that people can't actually effectively multitask, no matter how good at it they believe themselves to be. Voting up and awesome.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 

      6 years ago from Finland

      I try to do all chores at the same time when I'm home. I always feel stressed. Thank you for sharing this valuable information. I need to make a to-do-list. Great hub!

    • vespawoolf profile image


      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a very profound idea for me. I realized as I was reading it that I'm a multi-tasker and am always stressed while my husband is a single tasker and is almost never stressed! I thought it was the difference in our personalities, but now I'm thinking there's more to it. Thank you for sharing this. I consider you an expert in the field since you're a mother of 5 and highly productive on HubPages!


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