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Break the Stress Cycle of Multitasking

Recently, I was working on 3 separate projects with deadlines, answering emails, making phone calls, had some unexpected interruptions that had to be handled, and had 2 clients. By the end of the day, I had a throbbing headache, was exhausted, and had forgotten to pay an important bill. That's the unfortunate result of multitasking.

Back in the late 1990's, when smartphones came into being, it was believed that they'd allow us to get more done. We were told we could juggle a lot of different tasks at the same time, and get them all done more efficiently. The truth is far different. Not only does productivity suffer from multitasking, but the activity is a major cause of stress.

Multitasking isn't really doing several things at once. The brain can't focus on more than one thing at a time. You're actually quickly switching between one task and another. These mental acrobatics increase the stress hormones in your body, while depleting the glucose in your brain. The result is that multitasking clogs your mental pathways, causes stress, tight muscles, fuzzy thinking and exhaustion. Your mind just can't juggle multiple tasks, and your health, progress and effectiveness suffers.

It's like being a hamster on a wheel. Although you believe that you're getting things done, you're running in place, never getting anywhere. You use up an incredible amount of energy refocusing your attention from composing an email to talking on the phone to answering a question. Something is going to fall through the cracks, like sending the email to the wrong person.

When you're multitasking, you're always in emergency mode. You're braced for the next crisis, even if it's just the phone ringing. In this state, you're just reacting to events. Since you don't have the mental resources to consider new responses, you fall back into old patterns and innovation evaporates.

Because you're always expecting the next predicament, you find it. "Where attention flows, energy goes." Your subconscious seeks to provide what you're focused on, which is stress and crises. The subconscious will draw more problems for you to deal with, as that's where your attention lies. And your subconscious will ensure you remain stressed and continue to multitask, because you think that's the solution. It's a vicious cycle.

If you're trying to move forward in any part of your life, multitasking and the stress it causes will prevent this. Your brain has engaged all its resources to handle what's immediate. Even the best juggler can only keep so many balls in the air. And he can't do much of anything else when he's at his maximum capacity. All his attention has to be on those balls.

The solution is to free up some of your attention to be able to make progress and changes. The only way to move forward and start taking back control of your life is to break the habit of multitasking. It won't be easy, because first you have to accept that it's not beneficial. Then start by focusing on doing one thing at a time. Set aside an hour or two each day to put all your attention on one project. Turn off any technology that could interrupt you.

Occasionally, you'll have to multitask. Modern life demands it. But you must minimize it to reduce your stress, and improve your health, progress and personal growth. When you find yourself being overwhelmed by multitasking, take a step back and breathe. Break the cycle.

Once you've reduced your stress, you'll have more creativity and resources to make positive changes in your life. When you communicate your desires to your subconscious, they'll be clearer and more concentrated. You'll be able to think things through and be more decisive. By being more focused, you'll begin making progress on your desires, and in your personal and professional lives.

Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at You can contact her at or 928-600-0452.


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