What is multitasking and sigle tasking

Singletasking instead of multitasking

Do you also like to try to do several things more or less at the same time?

Have you noticed in yourself that this occasionally leads to minor accidents such as spilled coffee on the keyboard?

“Singletasking” is a term from self-organization and describes the state that we only do one thing at a certain time.

Effect of multitasking on our effectiveness

When we are busy with several tasks at the same time, our brain has to constantly switch between very different activities. This always takes a little time and energy (“coming back in”) and means that we never carry out our activities with full attention.

It is sometimes argued that multitasking - i.e. the simultaneous processing of several things - is on the one hand a necessary reality and on the other hand would lead to a faster completion of the work at hand.

Scientific studies and statistical evaluations always come to the same result: multitasking costs (a lot) money, nerves, strength - and in the worst case leads people to burnout.

Necessary Reality?

Perhaps you too have a job where the work pressure increases significantly at certain points in time. Planned activities and spontaneous additional activities come together every day and you are more or less forced by others to do many things at the same time.

But, is this really the truth? Don't you have the opportunity to simply say "I'll take care of it - but only later"?

Don't even try to play the game that others determine your priorities. You know you are doing a good job and you know that you are using your strength wisely. Just because you don't have three stacks next to the keyboard at a time doesn't mean you won't be working. Your supervisor knows anyway that the cluttered desk signals excessive demands, the stressed and permanent employee in the hallway obviously lives with a lack of planning and the colleague who is on the phone and typing at the same time does not have his priorities and thus his work under control.

But some of your colleagues may not know this - and neither may you yourself. Do you really think you're “more productive” if you keep panning back and forth?

You have a choice. Make a conscious decision not to do several things at the same time. What you may see as a necessary reality is, on balance, a negative deal for everyone involved.

Physiologically, we humans are not designed to distribute our strength in an appropriate proportion to different activities at the same time. We achieve top performance when we can dedicate ourselves 100% to one thing.

Get it done faster

But maybe you also believe that the bottom line is that processing several processes in parallel saves time.

I claim that this is not true in the sum. Work that we do not do with full attention suffer from many weak points:

  • the quality is lower than it could (and should) be: so we have to rework
  • we overlook the potential for effective implementation of a task - because we are too busy going one step further everywhere at the same time
  • we live a bad image: we appear stressed, erratic, unreliable. How does a rushed colleague affect you? Do you really think he's going to be faster than you?
  • we burn out faster: if we can hold several balls in the air for a moment - we cannot do that for a day, a week, a month or longer. At some point someone falls - and then everyone falls


Always concentrate your attention precisely on the activity you are currently working on. Resist the temptation to tackle a second task at the same time, because it is done “just like that”. If you need to change priorities while getting one thing done - stop one activity at an appropriate point, make a note of the progress, and then concentrate fully on another.

By the way, a schedule book is a great help here. Because it not only increases your reliability - it also relieves your head of the many small annoying memories that catch up with us when we actually wanted to concentrate fully on one thing. Don't let yourself interrupt you either - write it down and trust that you can come back to it in due course.

At Dr. You can find some helpful tips on how to combat multitasking effectively on the web.