CM 051: Devora Zack on Singletasking for a Richer, Happier Life

Blog Post - Devora ZackMultitasking is a myth. And we are poorer for trying to do it.

The research shows that we have less productivity, more stress, diminished creativity,  and poorer relationships when we try to do many things at once. And yet, in a hyper-connected world, we can often feel like we have no other choice.

And yet, if we honored how are brains are designed, we would see that singletasking is the answer. That is the message and the research that Devora Zack, author of Singletasking: Get More Done — One Thing at a Time, wants you to hear. And she gives practical tips about how to do it even in the most frenetic of moments.

Devora is the author of two previous books, Networking for People Who Hate Networking and Managing for People Who Hate Managing, and CEO of Only Connect Consulting. She’s worked with clients at Cornell University, London Business School, and Deloitte, and is a visiting faculty member at Cornell University. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal.

In this interview, we talk about:

  • The myth of multitasking
  • How single tasking ups our productivity and creativity and state of flow
  • Using time shifting to avoid a multitasking mindset
  • The price we pay for multitasking
  • The fact that excessive media multitaskers have trouble remembering
  • Why single tasking requires us to commit to a choice
  • Tips for starting small with single tasking
  • The three different ways most of us make sense of the world and why they matter
  • How accessibility and our need to please can prevent us from single tasking
  • Why single tasking lets us bring the best version of ourselves to what we do
  • The fact that some prefer to shock themselves than sit in silence
  • How device-free staff meetings can increase focus and productivity
  • A great tip for being more fully present with friends and family
  • Ways to build fences to prevent interruptions before they occur
  • The power of cluster tasking with tasks we do daily
  • What we can do and say when colleagues interrupt us
  • Tips for open plan offices and colleague interruptions
  • What team members think and feel about leaders who single task
  • The connection between happiness and single tasking

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned


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