How often do you check your Facebook? Earlier research had revealed that it took people around 15 minutes to get back to their task, once they had been interrupted.
The habit of multi-tasking is surprisingly common. The sheer prevalence of the trend forced the researchers to study it and try to deduce the extent of this problem.
To observe multi-tasking patterns, the research team installed task trackers in the computers in the study room of a university thus, gaining an unhindered view of how the students were spending their time.
An earlier research reported that the students reckoned their attention span lasted around 5 minutes. If you think that the attention span of 5 minutes is short, wait till you hear the findings of the latest study: the scientists discovered that the students can concentrate on a task merely for 31 seconds.
The screenshot of the task tracker depicts the average pattern of a student, supposed to be studying but distracted by other tasks. The blue color shows time spent on schoolwork while the red color represents time devoted to social media.
Interestingly, the researchers reckon that the students actually want to get their schoolwork done, yet the temptation to check the Facebook often ruins their plans:
“Facebook use is a key contributor to and initiator of task switching and multitasking behavior.”
Albeit being aware of the consequences of succumbing to the temptation, our brain wants to check Facebook every 31 seconds. However, fortunately, there are some ways to keep your Facebook logs in check.
Read on to know more about the multi-tasking and how to get through your to-do list in time:
Make Access to Facebook and other Distractions Harder
As a principle, people try to avoid task switching; reason being the fact that task switching requires additional effort and we usually tend to avoid this effort. The best way to regulate the time spent on Facebook is to install one of the Facebook Blocker extensions for your browser. Beat the laziness and make the best of your time by ticking off those items on your to-do list.
Prioritize the Hard Stuff
Working patterns reveal that we tend to spend more time on a harder task. Perhaps it is the mere knowledge that this work requires our utmost attention which keeps us from switching the assignment. The famous blogger Swizec Teller puts it this way:
“working on large abstract systems involves fitting the whole thing into your mind—like constructing a house out of expensive crystal glass. And as soon as someone distracts you, it comes barreling down and shatters into a thousand pieces.”
Therefore, getting on with the harder tasks is the best way to ensure that you keep on rolling.
Treat your To-Do List with Enthusiasm
The more excited you are about the job at hand, greater are the chances that you will see it through. For instance: if you have a choice between coding and doing the dishes, you will obviously feel more excited about the tough yet exciting coding task rather than the easy yet dull job of doing the dishes.
To cut back on your lazy scrolling through a month old Facebook stories, try to feel more excited about your job.
Eyes on the Prize
The research has revealed that it is hard to break away from mindless scrolling through your Twitter or Facebook feed and start working on the tasks at hand, even if you know how important they are!
The same is depicted in the high rate of the accidents when people are engrossed in their cellphones. However, if you keep your goals in sight and start working on the project with a deadline approaching fast, it is quite likely that you will finish up the job in time.
Disable distracting App Notifications
The experiment described above also revealed that there are more chances to switch to a task if you get a visual reminder of it. Add a voice notification like “ping” and the switching possibilities increase further. Therefore, be wise in choosing the apps you allow to show notifications or to announce them.
Take a cue from this post and start ticking the task off your To-Do list. You can thank us later!