The key to productivity? Ban multitasking!

We live in a culture that glorifies being busy and taking on as many tasks as possible. Multitasking is not just a way to get a few things done, it is considered a valuable skill to be listed on resumes. But there are good reasons to reexamine the idea that multitasking means getting more done. We may actually be doing ourselves and our work a disservice by working on many projects at once or rapidly jumping from task to task. 

Multitasking breeds stresscartoon of a man sitting down with many hands holding a different object.

It’s not surprising:  assigning your employees – or yourself! – an overwhelming amount of work can lead to being, well, overwhelmed. Taking on too many things at once and assuming you can multitask your way out of it can lead to feelings of frustration and stress as your brain attempts to keep up with the extra work. More often than not, you will end up bringing these emotions home from the office, and your to-do list will extend late into the night, throwing off your work-life balance (and robbing you of precious sleep!). 

Instead of succumbing to the temptation to multitask –  and the stress it brings –  try making a list each day that prioritizes your to-dos. Focus on one at a time, cross each one off when you’re done with it, and reward yourself with a break after completing a certain number of tasks. You’ll be surprised at how much faster things can get done when you’re focused and calm. Then, when the day is done, put the list away and don’t pick it up again until tomorrow!

Make sure you’re giving your employees a manageable amount of work, and encourage them to prioritize their to-do lists, as well. Stressed and overburdened employees are not only not as productive, but they are also less likely to be happy in their job and are more likely to want to move on. Ensuring that they, too, have a good work-life balance is good for your business as well as their mental health and happiness.  

Quantity vs qualityquantity and quality words on a scale with quality hanging lower on one side.

Multitasking may be stressful, but at least it means you’re getting a lot done, right? Well, maybe. But are you actually sacrificing the quality of your work by trying to get so much done at once? When you multitask, you’re attempting to manage multiple thoughts and actions at once, and this can lead to cognitive overload. Both your brain power and your work are likely to suffer as a result. In fact, a study done by Stanford University proves that multitasking limits your ability to produce high quality work. The study found that a person’s IQ drops an average of 17 points when attempting to multitask, and that we are as much as three times as likely to make common mistakes when managing two or more tasks simultaneously.

For entrepreneurs and employees alike, the focus should be on getting things right the first time. Instead of spending precious time and resources going back and fixing mistakes, banning multitasking gives your brain the chance to tune into the task at hand, creating higher quality work. 

Reframe to refocus

How do we turn off that part of our brain, or our ego, that tells us that we constantly need to be doing more? You can start by reframing your perspective. Think about the positives of focusing on one project at a time. When focused, you are able to:

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Reframing will help you solve problems efficiently.
  • Listen actively and retain important information
  • Stay present and tune in to your own needs
  • Be more perceptive to mistakes or potential issues
  • Think creatively and outside of the box
  • Problem solve efficiently

These qualities make you a better entrepreneur, boss, parent, partner, and friend. You’ll be able to react reflectively, find creative solutions to problems, listen responsively, and catch your own mistakes.

By highlighting the positive aspects of focused work, putting an emphasis on quality over quantity, and working to reduce stress and improve work-life balance, multitasking can – and should – become a thing of the past.

Is Smiling The Secret To Happiness?

Some days are just rough, and can be both hectic and stressful. We’ve all been there; you snooze your alarm one too many times and end up late for work. Worse yet, there is traffic on the way, and you spill your coffee on your favorite shirt. Talk about a bad day.

When times are tough, the last thing on your mind is smiling, but did you know that every time you smile you send

“feel-good” signals to your brain? You might pass a stranger walking by that shares a smile, or you giggle at  something funny on your phone. That little bit can make a big difference in your psyche, and can improve your stressful, hectic day. Not only will your smile fight depression and stress, but it will make you more attractive and approachable to others. 

The Flow Of Endorphins

Every time that you smile, your body sends endorphins to your brain. The trick is to smile anyway, getting the chemicals to flow. These endorphins elevate your mood, making you feel happier. The neural messages sent to your brain boost neuropeptides like dopamine and serotonin. Smiling acts as an antidepressant, mood lifter, and as a

Young caucasian man with a beard at work smiling with a sticky note on his head that says "be happy"
Smiling makes you feel happier, less stressed, and more productive.

natural painkiller. 

Boosts Productivity

Smiling will boost your immune system because your body becomes more relaxed, and positive. It’s proven that stress lowers your body’s ability to fight illness. Besides the immune boost, this will cause you to become more productive as well. As mentioned, the neuropeptides boosted from smiling make you feel good. The less stress you experience, the more productive you become. Being happy boosts your productivity in the workplace, and in life. When you are happier, and less stressed, then you are more motivated to get things done.

Look Younger

People are constantly looking for the fountain of youth and try many remedies to look younger. A simple smile can do the trick. The muscles used to lift the face are the same used when you smile. In other words, instead of opting for a facelift, just smile more. Research has shown that smiling can make you look 3 years younger. 

It’s Contagious

Have you ever been in a bad mood and then a stranger, friend, or colleague passes you with a smile on their face? Chances are you smiled back. This is because the act of smiling is an unconscious, automatic response. A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia reported that seeing an attractive, smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in your brain that processes sensory rewards. This means that when you view a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded.

A smile has the power to not only make you feel better, but it also elevates the mood of others around you. 

It’s Attractive

Young caucasian woman with blonde hair , and glasses ooking back smiling
Smiling offers so many benefits toy our health, it is contagious, and makes you look more attractive, and more!

When you smile, people treat you differently. How so? You are viewed as more sincere, and attractive. Humans are naturally drawn to happy people who smile. When you smile, people view you as more confident, approachable, and easier to talk with. A smile draws people in. 

Smiling offers many benefits, not only to you, but to others around you as well. Even when a smile is forced, or unnatural, it can make a positive difference to your health and happiness. Just make sure to practice so you don’t send mixed signals.

There is magic behind a smile, so use your powers for good, and help others feel good! You will feel less stressed, others will enjoy your company, and you will look more attractive, and younger. October 4 is World Smile Day, so show those pearly whites and make the world a better place.