It is not uncommon to hear people bragging about how good they are at multi-tasking. I always chuckle inwardly when I hear this because what they are really admitting is that they are not able to focus on one thing at a time. Their attention flits from one thing to another without stopping long enough to give anything real attention. If you fit into this group of people, you are NOT being as productive you would like to be – or need to be.
Multi-tasking is not only unproductive, it can increase your stress levels, as well.
In this post, we will address a strategy that you can use to reduce your multi-tasking tendencies, increase your productivity, and help you feel less rushed and stressed.
The reality, whether you want to admit it or not, is that you cannot multi-task. The mind can only focus on one thing as a time no matter how brilliant you are.
Plan Your Day
When you take the time to do this at the end of each day, you are ready to start the next day with a plan in place. You schedule blocks of time that will allow you to focus on one task at a time. As a result there will be no need to “try” to multi-task.
- Social Media Interaction
If you use social media to interact with clients or customers, block off the necessary time you need each day to take care of this (be realistic). This will be much more effective that going back and forth all day long in and out of social media – a few minutes here and there.
You can schedule more than one block of time if you need it – perhaps 30 minutes in the morning and an hour at the end of the day. But, it is never a good idea to interrupt other tasks to jump on a social media site for any reason.
- Emails and Phone Calls
This is another task that can absorb a lot of time throughout the day and distract you from more important work. Again, the recommendation is to set up two blocks of time – one in the a.m. and one in the p.m. at day’s end.
- Large Projects
Break large projects in to workable chunks. You can then create a manageable “to do” list that allows you to focus completely on the task at hand. It also eliminates overwhelm because you can complete each task, which gives you a sense of satisfaction and leads you to completion of the larger project.
You will feel like you are getting somewhere on a daily basis. Trying to work on large project as a whole often creates a sense of overwhelm that makes it difficult to focus.
- Include Breaks
When you know that you will have a 10- or 15-minute break in an hour (or two hours), it is much easier to focus on the task at hand and not think about that 2nd cup of coffee or snack that is waiting for you in the fridge.
- Be Aware of Tendency to Multi-task
This is critical. If you know you have this tendency, you can stop yourself from falling into that trap. Watch yourself – notice the times of the day when you lose focus on what you are doing; or notice the tasks that cause you to divert your attention to other things, rather than staying on point.
When you are aware of tasks you do not like to do that let your mind wander to other things; or when you know which times of day are a struggle to stay focused, you can develop a plan that is specifically tailored to help you stay productive during those periods. Maybe, difficult times could be your daily break times. And . . . the tasks that get you into trouble could be delegated to someone else.
Multi-tasking splits your attention in several directions and nothing gets the attention it really needs. It shatters your focus and keeps you from working efficiently and effectively.
Having a daily plan is one of the best ways I know to reduce tendencies to multi-task, keep you on track, make sure you are focusing for blocks of time on things that must be done, and improve your success. Try it TODAY!