Many women pride themselves on being able to do more than one thing at the same time. They can find it terribly frustrating if they have a male partner who does not share the same skill. Mums often say that they have no choice but to multi-task. Otherwise, they would never get everything done.

But the truth is that multi-tasking is not good for us. It causes stress. It stops us from fully attending to one task. It’s the opposite of being mindful – that wonderfully relaxing ability to focus solely on the here and now. It reduces productivity and efficiency. And most worrying of all, it can affect our relationships. How irritating and hurtful is it when your partner says they’re listening to you, but they have one eye on the TV or newspaper? Children are the first to complain when we attempt to hear about their day while checking our emails. Friends can tell when we appear distracted while listening to them on the phone because we’re answering an SMS or an email. In fact, technological advancements have created a fertile environment for multi-tasking to grow out of control. We’re all busy trying to work or study or have time with loved ones whilst monitoring Twitter, Facebook, emails or SMSs.

So, to reduce stress, increase efficiency and productivity, and to maintain healthy relationships, try:

  • Switching off your phone when you’re trying to focus on work or study
  • Having set times to check your emails, SMSs or Facebook page
  • Changing the settings on your phone so that it doesn’t buzz or beep when you have received an SMS or email
  • Turning off the TV during meals or conversations with family members
  • Always focusing solely on the person speaking to you
  • Limiting access to your phone and the Internet on nights, weekends, and especially on holidays
  • Telling colleagues about your decision to limit your accessibility
  • Finishing one task before starting another
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