We live in a world that celebrates multi-tasking. We walk and talk on smartphones, or use a tablet computer while watching TV.

But now the experts are suggesting it’s time to go back to the future, replacing multi-tasking with a ‘single-tasking’.

Neuroscientists, business and productivity experts believe we’ll get more done if we focus on one thing at a time.

“I see people coming out of their offices at 5 o'clock, all busily consulting their smartphone or on the train with their tablets - they have a constant need for distraction,” said executive mentor Kevin Hume.

“However all the research indicates that the more you try to do at the same time, the less you do with any degree of depth and clarity.”

Kevin runs a wellbeing consultancy, the Sydney Meditation Centre, and works with corporate clients to teach workplace meditation and focus.

“The neurological research is very clear. If you focus on one thing at a time, your productivity improves, your performance improves, and the sense of satisfaction with what you are doing will improve as well.”

Research shows that, rather than do two things at once, the human brain usually switches between tasks, so multi-taskers must switch and re-evaluate their goals constantly, which is a drain on their productivity.

Ernst Poppel at Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University found that humans process information in three-second windows, with other tasks remaining in the background until it is their turn to access the brain.

In 2011, the Queensland Brain Institute ran a project with the ABC for National Science Week called ‘The Multi-tasking Test,’ which saw more than 4,000 people log on to a website to complete a short quiz on multi-tasking habits.

They found that while sitting in front of the TV, women spend more time talking, reading, texting and working than men, who are more likely to be playing computer games.

That’s a trend that’s carried into the workplace, said Kevin. “Most people in the corporate environment feel they are expected to do many different things at once, rather than do one thing well.”

He said many people find meditation challenging. “It really tests people the first time they try the exercises.”

The key is letting go of random thoughts, he said. “When your mind wanders to other thoughts, you bring it back to focus on a physical point of focus – like your breath, or a visual object – perhaps a vase of flowers.”

If productivity is your focus, he had some simple advice: “No more multi-tasking!”