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.

Resources Related to the Podcast

AoM podcast episodes with Cal Newport on Deep Work and Digital MinimalismAoM podcast with Oliver Burkeman on Time Management for MortalsAoM podcast with Nicolas Carr on how the internet affects our minds and attentionAoM series on how to improve your listeningAoM article on the benefits of being fully presentAoM article on working when you work, and playing when you play

Connect With Thatcher Wine

Companion Website to the Monotasking BookThatcher’s WebsiteJuniper Books

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The post Podcast #768: Become a Focused Monotasker appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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