Ditch multitasking – It fails everytime


Multitasking looks this easy on the training course brochure cover…

Stop multitasking – it is a bad way of working driven by the endless drive for more tools, gadgets and systems…And here is why..

Multitasking has become so embedded in our language – the word has become almost a joke. “Multi tasking” has become a verbal short hand for “I am busy – that’s my excuse for failing to do something” (or do it properly). It has become one of those cliches where everyone knows what it means – nobody can do it. We have spoke before about technology and tools being there and in some cases actively designed to distract us and get our attention. What we actually do when we multitask is that we partially complete several tasks.

So what’s the alternative to multitasking ?

More training? More gadgets? More systems and processes?

No – that’s just more “stuff” – More things to download – more stuff to back up.

The answer is less multitasking and is ONE simple system.

It’s called the pomodoro technique. The pomodoro technique is so simple it is foolish.

The basic premise is that you do ONE THING at a time. (Yes remarkable I know..)

A basic unit of time is a pomodoro – 25 earth minutes.

The idea is that you focus on ONE THING. (The draft of this blog post was completed in a pomodoro). You just sit down and do it. No hopping about – no jumping over to check email, stats, linkedin connection requests, drinks of water. Just focus.

And it does take considerable focus to do this but like everything it takes practice. And the more you do – the better you become at it.

To help you along the way – there are a number of tools (free and paid) which you can download to your computer or smartphone. The ones that are most useful to me are the ones with an audible ticking clock. As you work – you can actually hear the clock ticking and counting down or up.

After you have finished the pomodoro, you get a 5 minute break – where you can do what you want. Even go back to multitasking if you want (joke).

There are various schools of thought about how to work the pomodoro technique so that effectively put 2 or 3 or 4 in a line.

That’s it – The pomodoro technique – You just focus on one thing at once.

So – may advice is to drop all those bad attempts at multitasking , drop all references to it in the language that you use, even your website and marketing material and jump over and investigate the pomodoro technique.


Jonathan Senior is the UK's leading authority on careers after sport. He is a multiple management author, triathlete since 1996 and 2 x ironman triathlon finisher.

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