BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Just over two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are reporting unprecedented levels of stress.

An NBC article on the subject listed rising costs, war-related fears, and pandemic-induced anxiety as significant sources of the increase in stress.

As Americans reel under the weight of these anxieties, is it healthy to cling to pre-pandemic definitions of productivity, which often require multitasking?

What is multitasking?

Multitasking, often viewed as a desirable quality in an employee, is defined as the ability to deal with more than one task at a time.

While many people believe themselves to be competent multitaskers, one study found that only 2.5 percent of people are able to do so effectively.

Pros and cons of juggling tasks

Some researchers believe there are situations in which the ability to juggle numerous tasks at once is beneficial, and they often point to studies that indicate it can boost creativity.

Other supporters of multitasking tout it as a way to achieve goals in a shorter period of time.

But according to Very Well Health, “Some research suggests that multitasking can actually hamper your productivity by reducing your comprehension, attention, and overall performance.”

The Cleveland Clinic adds that “Studies suggest that people who frequently ‘media multitask’ (like listening to music while checking email or scrolling through social media while watching a movie) are more distracted and less able to focus their attention even when they’re performing only one task.”

What is monotasking?

This is why some experts believe its better to replace multitasking with monotasking, which is described as “the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed.”

According to Monotasking Tips, the benefits of taking on only one responsibility at a time include:

  1. Increasing productivity – you may think you will get more done by multitasking and it may look like you’re busy, but the reality is that monotasking is more productive in the long run.
  2. Reducing errors in the work you do by being focused.
  3. Improving the quality of the work you do by paying attention.
  4. Decreasing stress by being present in each task you do instead of getting overwhelmed by everything you need to do.
  5. Being happier! People who live in the present moment tend to be happier than those who are constantly thinking about the past and the future. Monotasking always happens in the present moment.
  6. Lengthening your attention span. The attention economy is constantly trying to distract you and fragment your attention. You can take charge of your attention, rebuild and expand it by monotasking.
  7. Improving your connection and relationships to others. When you monotask the time you spend with friends and family, you become more connected, become a better listener, and feel more what they are feeling.
  8. Building your monotasking muscles! The more you monotask, the better at it you become so it’s a reinforcing cycle!

So, while some feel that multitasking is a sure way to success, others believe it’s better to sharpen one’s monotasking skills.

However you choose to approach your to-do list, we hope you’re able to get things done in a way that minimizes stress and anxiety.