For important and time-sensitive tasks – think meeting two competing deadlines rather than cooking dinner while chatting on the phone – Craig believes in the adage ‘slow and steady wins the race’: ‘monotasking’, the act of devoting your focus to one activity at a time, is the most productive approach.
“There’s no doubt that paying full attention to one task is, on the whole, most likely to give you the best performance compared to trying to spread your attention across several tasks,” Craig says. “If you’re doing it well and doing it efficiently, you’re not wasting time. So you’re less likely to be distracted by other thoughts.”
So how can we train our brains to stay focused? One way is by leaning into the practice of mindfulness. “Anyone who’s trying to do many tasks at once is probably not being mindful,” Craig suggests. Instead of drawing attention back to your breath when your mind wanders, monotasking asks you to draw attention back to the priority task at hand.
Here are five more tips to help you bring focus back into your busy life.