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  • Writer's pictureTeam DesignerShala

Multitasking VS Single Tasking as a Design Student

Updated: Jan 22, 2022

Often in the design work culture, multi-tasking is regarded as an essential skill for a design student or a design professional, as something that is revered as a source of pride. The practice of multitasking has forever been glorified in the design work culture. They say, ‘if you don’t have time, make some.’ But well, is that the solution? Is that what lets us work and do it better? Is that what brings us satisfaction and more time? Especially in the fashion industry, the fast-paced work with deadlines, schedules, and impromptu decisions and tasks are key. This sometimes leaves you with no other option but to juggle and handle multiple tasks at a given time. It is, in fact, even recommended and celebrated in some industries. Multitaskers usually take the trophy home. But, let us break it all to you – multitasking as a fashion design student or even a professional is a path to mental burnout and a creative slump in the long run. No, we’re not saying that it is wrong or completely detrimental to your health, but it is definitely something that should not be glorified and encouraged. For more? Read on and you’ll reach a decision by the end of it.

Source: Leon on Unsplash Why Should Multitasking Be a No-No

Did you know that the concept of multitasking came into being from the computer? Coined in the year 1965, it was meant to describe the ability of the computer to manage multiple tasks together at a given time. But well, that is a machine. Unfortunately, our brain is not one. Our brain is a powerhouse, yes, but it can only do so much. But first, what is multitasking?

Multitasking is what you do when you’re sketching a design while also scrolling on Instagram every 30 seconds and also trying to decide on a colour scheme for your collection. Simply put, multitasking is when you either indulge in two or more tasks at the same time, do them all with no gap or space, or keep switching from one task to another every few minutes.

Yes, we understand that as fashion design students the submission deadlines don’t wait and there aren’t enough hours in the day. Plus maybe, you don’t see a problem with multitasking and you’ve labelled it as a way of life. It may make you feel empowered, satisfied, and eventually, it may have taken on the form of a habit. Once you begin multitasking, it tends to latch on as a strict habit that is then hard to let go of. Why exactly is multitasking bad for us and our work?

Coming to the ‘why’ here, multitasking has been a corporate favourite for a while, but it isn’t exactly the right path. It not only has professional effects but also mental cons that may stick around for a while. Read on to know how and why it is really bad for us.

Source: Elisa Ventur on Unsplash - Brain Fogging Switching from one task to another in rapid succession or performing them together can not only cause you to lose focus but also cause long-term memory problems and brain fog. Brain fogging is exactly what it sounds like–a sense of disorientation, confusion, and lack of clarity in the head. A lot of things can cause this but one prime cause is also the practice of multitasking. - Loss of productivity A lot of people believe that multitasking can make them more productive, but it is often the opposite. Juggling between two or more tasks at the same time or one after the other can cause a drop of about 40% in your productivity levels. Because of switching focus from one task at hand to another, you cannot dedicate full attention to either, causing less actual work to happen. - Increased anxiety Switching one’s focus and attention constantly and inviting lesser productivity levels is bound to make one anxious. This anxiety is caused by continuously trying to manage multiple things and trying to gain the best results from all. It is, further, aggravated by the deadlines that surround each task, which only doubles up with many tasks done simultaneously.

- More mistakes With increased anxiety and low productivity levels, coupled with a lack of clarity and focus, comes low quality. This can also be attributed to increased mistakes that are inevitable with the other mental repercussions of multitasking. - Less creativity As you process multiple chains of thoughts and keep switching between them, you also tend to deplete your creative thinking, in turn, impacting the work adversely. Along with the quality of the work, you also tend to produce bland work, and everyone knows that creativity is what drives

your fashion designing career, whether you are a professional or a fashion design student.

What is Single-Tasking?

Okay, so now we know that multitasking isn’t exactly a healthy way of handling work on a daily basis. But, at the same time, it sometimes feels essential with the deadlines, right? But, since every dilemma comes with a solution, here is one for this–single-tasking. Yes, it does and can solve the problems that you were looking to resolve with multitasking. But first, let’s understand what exactly is single-tasking.

As the name suggests, single-tasking is the exact opposite of multitasking–it is the act of focusing on one task at a time without any interruptions and distractions. It is a process where your focus and attention stay undeterred on the task at hand, without compromising on the quality of the work and your productivity level. We can also define single-tasking as the combination of minimalism and slow web. And, here’s what they both mean. Minimalism: This is an approach to life, a way of living that revolves around minimalism–focusing on only what you need and not on what you want. This is a lifestyle that compels you to remove the extra fuss in life that you don’t need and only focus on the essentials that bring you raw happiness and satisfaction. This involves you commemorating only the important things in life and a minimal lifestyle. Slow web: The concept of the slow web is one that prioritizes timeliness over real-time tasks and rhythm over random. This idea of living pushes us to take life as it is and live it on their terms instead of revolving it around the web and its constant slew of information. This is related to the art of slow cooking, which is again all about cooking one’s food slowly to reap the best taste.

The idea of single-tasking fits right in the middle of these two concepts. This means that with single-tasking, you prioritize one task at a time based on its level of importance and enjoy working on it and the process thoroughly. Dedicating yourself to one thing at a time, giving it enough importance and enjoying the whole process makes one relish that task completely, in turn, increasing its quality and your productivity level.

Source: Marvin Meyer on Unsplash How Can You Find a Balance as a Design Student?

We’ve spoken about why multitasking is a no-no and why one should embrace single-tasking instead. But, how can you do it? Here’s how! Pomodoro technique A time-management technique that works like magic, if followed correctly. The Pomodoro technique is basically one that involves you picking one single task first and then setting a timer of 25 minutes. You work on that one task for that amount of time and then take a 5 minutes break. Repeat

the same for the next three tasks and then give yourself the liberty to take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. Close your texts and email Technology, as easy as it makes things, can also pose a challenge in other areas. Like here, while working on your design or a concept, you may lose focus if a notification or a text/email pops up. So, while you immerse yourself in any one task at a given time, also make sure that you keep your phone away and close the chatbox/email tab.

Make a to-do list and use apps Making a list will solve half your problems as a fashion design student and later, as a professional. Putting together a list of all the tasks that you’re supposed to complete for the day can help you streamline all of it and allot each to specific hours of the day. This will not only help you single-task like a pro but also allow you to dedicate your time and focus undivided. So, here were three simple but main and timeless single-tasking tips that always work and how! All you got to do is realize and identify your multitasking patterns and take the baby step towards breaking them, one task at a time.

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