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The only way to multitask effectively

⌛ Today’s tip: Multitask more effectively by pairing a focused task with an automatic one.

You’ve probably heard that multitasking is a bad way to get anything done well (and some research even suggests that it can mess with your memory over the long term). But Matthew Kent looked at the brain science and found that there’s a way to juggle two tasks without hindering yourself in either: Do one thing that requires conscious thinking — say, talking on the phone—and another thing that doesn’t, like walking on a treadmill.

The key: Your mind should never feel strained. “If at any point you are ‘switching’ between one thing and another, you’re wasting your precious cognitive resources and would be better off doing the tasks sequentially,” Kent writes. You may even find that performing the automatic task enhances the focused one. Who knows? Listening to an audiobook while doing the dishes could turn into your new favorite ritual.

📚 More from Forge on maintaining focus:

To Achieve More, Focus on ‘Compound Time’
Read more >>

Your Focus Is Priceless. Stop Giving It Away
Read more >>

The Perfect Productivity Playlist, According to Brain Science
Read more >>

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Cari Nazeer

Cari Nazeer

Former lead editor, Forge @ Medium

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