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Nov 12, 2016 10:06 AM EST

Be a More Productive Multitasker: A Neuroscientist Tells Us How

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We earlier talked about how multitasking degrades the quality of our performance. However, our daily lives demand the ability to manage more than a few things at a time. Neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley is very much aware of this so he shares 3 important tips to becoming a more productive multitasker.

Recognizing that our constant need to switch in between attention-demanding tasks, at work or at school has negative effects since the human brain is not designed to function the same way our mobile phones and computers do. Dr. Gazzaley and his co-author, psychologist Larry D. Rosen shares strategies to manage the adverse effects of our constant need to multitask.

Here are tips to help you become a more productive multitasker at work or at school:

1. Knowing and setting your limits

The mind has fundamental limitations and it's important that we understand that according to Dr. Gazzaley. This is why it's important to manage the clutter in our tech lives.

He recommends setting time blocks for multitasking, working on low level activities that does not demand much attention.

He also suggests preventing our devices from reaching out to us when we're working on critical assignments. Limiting tabs in our browsers, not checking emails when reading and setting phones on silent or airplane mode can help us focus more on the task at hand and eliminate unnecessary digital distractions.

2. Learning to take breaks

When working on difficult or complicated assignments and tasks, Dr. Gazzaley recommends taking short breaks to refresh and reinvigorate.

The neuroscientist likened this break to the interval breaks in work outs. You don't completely stop moving you remain active but moves at a slower phase and with less intensity.

Managing the distracted mind requires light physical activity like taking a walk and getting exposed to nature and restorative mindfulness exercises.

3. Setting expectations

This applies to one's self as well as your friends and coworkers. When you've dedicated time to work on a project or assignment, make sure to let them know that you can't be bothered. Logging out of instant messaging app is one way to do it.

Let them know that you need to "shut down" for a while to avoid unnecessary distractions.

Finally, give yourself time to recover to avoid stress and anxiety.

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