According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral home in the United States has three full-time and four part-time employees, contributing to the need for many deathcare professionals to wear multiple hats. That can increase the likelihood of relying on multitasking to get day-to-day work done. But those multitasking habits might be derailing your productivity.
Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work
Outside of very simple, ingrained tasks, multitasking is a myth. Yes, our bodies and minds are capable of doing two things at once. People walk and talk all the time.
But when you start doubling up on tasks at work, chances are you’re engaging in something called task switching, and that’s not the same thing as multitasking.
Task switching involves toggling rapidly between multiple tasks. For example, if you’re on a phone call with a potential preplanning client while clearing out your email inbox, you’re not actually handling both those tasks at the same time. Your attention and effort is rapidly cycling between the phone conversation and your inbox, which means neither task is getting 100 percent of your focus.
Multitasking is attractive because it makes us feel like we’re getting more done. But studies indicate multitasking reduces productivity by as much as 40 percent while negatively impacting long-term focus and concentration skills.
Tips to Try Instead of Multitasking
Instead of dividing your attention between potential clientele or important business tasks and other work, try a few of these tips to stay productive without multitasking:
- Batch work. Do numerous like tasks at one time. This helps you focus on them and work through them quicker. For example, handle nonemergency email tasks twice a day, return business calls once a day, and set aside one hour a week to plan your funeral home social media marketing content.
- Use focused work sessions. The human brain works best in stints of up to around 50 minutes. Then it needs a break or a change in focus for 10 to 15 minutes before re-engaging with the task at hand. Set a timer to keep yourself on track. For example, if you’re working on funeral home marketing, set a timer for 45 minutes. After that, switch to other work for a while.
- Do small tasks immediately. Handle tasks that take less than two minutes immediately instead of writing them down on your to-do list for later. That way your brain won’t keep considering them and tempt you into multitasking to get them done.