Become a Focused Monotasker
Play • 48 min

Writing an email while on a Zoom call. Talking on the phone while walking. Scrolling through social media while watching a movie.

In both our work and our play, we're all doing more and more multitasking. Doing two things at once makes us feel as if we're more efficient and getting more done.

But my guest would say that all this task juggling actually makes us less productive, while diminishing the quality of our work and stressing our minds, and that we'd be better off curbing our multitasking in favor of monotasking. His name is Thatcher Wine and he's the author of The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better. Today on the show, Thatcher explains the illusions around multitasking and the benefits of monotasking — that is, bringing our full focus to a single task at a time. We discuss why reading is a foundational part of becoming a monotasker, and then get into some of the other activities Thatcher recommends monotasking, including walking, listening, traveling/commuting, and thinking. Thatcher argues that doing things like listening to a podcast while cleaning your house isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that you may want to try stripping everything away from your daily tasks except the primary tasks themselves to observe the resulting effect and to strengthen your "monotasking muscles" and rebuild your attention span. Once you've experimented with doing a task alone, you can then decide to layer back in the second activity, or, maybe decide you actually liked giving it your all.

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