Single-Tasking and ADHD

Single-Tasking is the new Multi-tasking!!!

Even though we know that multi-tasking isn’t good; it isn’t productive, doesn’t make us feel accomplished and even makes our IQ go down, we still do it! .

Multi-tasking is doing 2 or more things at the same time (such as talking on the phone while grocery shopping) or moving to and from tasks quickly. For example, writing a report, checking emails and doing your online banking. Multi-tasking is performed by the executive functions of the brain.

Researchers found there are 2 steps involved:
1) Goal shifting (choosing one item)

2) Role Activation (switching between the rules from one task to another)
Every time we switch tasks, we lose time. Some researchers believe we are 40% less productive when we multi-task.

Now, of course, there are some situations where we don’t get a choice. A mum looking after her children or staff in the ER room need to multi-task to keep everyone safe and responding to the needs of multiple people.

However, many of us don’t have to multi-task, but still create an environment where we do.

As an ADDer, you might multi-task because:

1) You are scared to forget to do something. You act on the thought right away, regardless of what you are working on when it popped into your mind.

2) You have a low threshold for boredom, so you don’t just talk to a friend on the phone; you are also playing a computer game.

3) You crave excitement; so by flitting from one thing to the next quickly, your adrenaline is pumping and life seems more exciting.

I love this video about multi-tasking and single-tasking and think you will too!

Pay particular attention to:

1) The description of going on tangents on the internet…(perfect portrayal!)
2) The analogy of having multiple tabs opened on the computer at once and darting. I don’t know one person with ADHD who has less than 10 tabs open at once.

Are you inspired now to try single-tasking?
Will you try “Tabless Thursday”?


  1. Caleb says:

    I am this exact way. I used to do the 10-tab thing when I was very young. As I got older I developed a passion for knowledge, and would try to do this with Wikipedia articles, news posts, and websites such as this one. I did quickly realize that my mind would compensate for my ADHD by becoming obssessed with one idea for a long time. This mechanism makes me great at learning anything I take an interest in, but once it starts, I can’t turn it off. I actually suffer from insomnia because my mind simply cannot shut down while in that state. The only way I can really turn it off even slightly is by switching the obssession to something less engaging, which is hard for me because every little thing will become extremely engaging. Anyway when I do this I keep from 3-6 tabs open, and when the obsession starts stressing me out, I switch tabs.


  1. […] summer, I wrote an article called, ‘ADHD and Single Tasking’; all about why single tasking is the new multi-tasking. You can check it out here. If you are […]

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