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How Much Productivity Is Too Much Productivity? Multitasking vs. Singletasking

I’m a multitasker. I’ve always been a multitasker. If I’m watching tv, I’m scrolling, coloring, painting, or solving a Rubik’s cube. If I’m cooking, I’m listening to music or reading between breaks. If I’m on prep, I struggle to focus on one task at a time. Why does this happen? Is it me being distracted by tech? Or is it me having too much to do that I try and do more than one task at a time?

My Experience With Multi-Tasking

The video “Single Tasking is the New Multitasking” that Katia asked us to watch really hit close to home. I would love to be able to focus and appreciate one job at a time, but as a teacher, I think I have simply adapted to the multitasking lifestyle. In one hour, I, teach 26 students, answer questions, assess, regulate behavior, and make connections. I’m also planning at the same time for the next class in my head and remember who is getting picked up early today. When it comes to my planning time, I need to prioritize what needs to be done first, while trying to check off my neverending list. Now that’s multitasking. And this has nothing to do with technology.

When I get home from work, I spend some time drinking coffee and scrolling. But I also need to make supper, do homework, or go to class. This semester, I’m busy taking 2 classes, which means less time to get things done…but there’s more on my list. When I sit down to do homework, I start on one assignment but find myself not finishing it and moving on to another one. When I do have time to myself, I try and do more than one hobby at a time. I usually watch a show while painting or making a puzzle. I go for a walk and listen to music. I love to read, but find it more difficult to sit down and read since I cannot multitask while reading. Maybe I should try audiobooks?

I understand what James Hamblin is explaining in his video about trying to become a single-tasker. This would mean more effort is being put into one task which then has better outcomes. I just don’t know where people find the time to do that! What is interesting to me is that my hobbies all include one technological aspect to them. Maybe I am unable to single task without having tech near me.

My Students and Their Experience With Multitasking

Kids these days are quite used to multitasking due to technology. Some students find listening to music a way to focus while writing or working on Art. Some students are able to stay on task for an entire period while doing research on the computer but I will catch others trying to sneak in some game time instead of working. It all depends on the skills a student may have and their ability to stay focused.

When it comes to being productive while using technology tools, it’s important that students have the skills they need to do so. Maddy, Raegyn, and Casey gave us many advantages and disadvantages to using productivity tools in the classroom. Their focus on presentation tools made me reflect on how I use these tools in my classroom. and how some students might not be ready for that level of multitasking,

Advantages of Using Productivity Suites and Presentation Tools in My Classroom:

  • My students love research projects and are independent learners- more time learning what they want to focus on means more engagement.
  • My students are creative and come up with fun ways to present what they have learned.
  • My students can collaborate with each other and work with different abilities and skills.
  • Platforms like Google Slides allow me to keep up with their work.
  • Developing 21st-century skills!
Disadvantages of Using Productivity Suites and Presentation Tools in My Classroom:

Disadvantages of Using Productivity Suites and Presentation Tools in My Classroom:

  • It is difficult to try and find the time to teach skills that are needed while doing research projects and presentations. Some students are highly skilled already while others still struggle with minimal tasks on the computer.
  • Not everyone in my class has the capability to focus on a screen for that long- some prefer other ways of showing their work.
  • Some of my students have limited access to computers at home. If they ever needed to finish something, they would be unable to complete their work.
  • I find some of my students unable to focus on one tab, one question at a time when doing research. They also get distracted by games, videos, or other fun facts they find online. They go down the rabbit hole.
  • I teach French Immersion. Many of my students do research in English and then use Google Translate. Even though I tell them not to because I know it’s not their own words! They have no idea what some words mean when they copy and paste what they have translated right onto their presentation.
Any French teacher knows that no Immersion student will use the word “saisiront”.

Final Thoughts

As a forever multitasker, I live for anything that will help me be as productive as possible. With the amount of free time that I don’t have, I try and do as much as I can in a short amount of time. This does cause some distractions, but it usually ends up working out in my favour since I do have the skill to multitask. As for my students, I would like to teach them how to better use technology as a way to stay productive and help them develop the skills they need to be able to prioritize and focus for better outcomes during research, projects, and presentations.

Are you a multi-tasker or a single-tasker? Do you always find yourself with tech, no matter the task?


2 thoughts on “How Much Productivity Is Too Much Productivity? Multitasking vs. Singletasking

  1. I appreciate your connections to your students. Firstly I have to say, as a french immersion student, I loved a Google Translate (although my teachers repeatedly said to not use it!) It was hard not to.. But for myself, I also have always been a multi-tasker and growing up, that was something that my parents wanted use to be able to do, to be productive. Now with technology involved, it seems to be doing the opposite. I would agree it is how and when we use technology will either enable us to be productive or result in distractions. I think there is a difference between us and our students due to age and upbringing. They are digital natives, where technology has been apart of their entire lives, unlike us. I think it is important to teach our students productivity skills. What are some strategies to do this? Do you think these students are able to take these skills from the classroom and implement them at home? Curious to hear your thoughts


  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Megan, I can relate to your post as I also think a lot while doing one task. I think our mind is working everywhere, as soon as one task is about to finish we start thinking about the next that we have to complete. With technology more prevalent than ever in our daily lives, multitasking has become increasingly common as students attempt to perform multiple tasks, such as texting, browsing Facebook, streaming media, and studying, all at once. Multitasking may impair learning through rapid use of the limited capacity of learners’ information processing channels, especially attention processes, leaving insufficient space for meaningful learning.


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