Why Multitasking won’t make you Productive
Are you checking your Facebook posts, whilst reading this post on your computer? Listening to music, whilst talking to someone? Helping your child with their homework whilst replying to a whatsapp message?
Whilst some of you claim to be amazing at multitasking (I even used to claim it when I was a lawyer), but the truth is (and studies have shown) that multitasking won’t make you productive. When you are multitasking you are not devoting your attention to one task but splitting your attention quickly from one task to another. The overall effect will be that your brain is switching back and forth, getting confused and unproductive.
If you keep multitasking, you reduce your ability to focus on other tasks, as your brain is used to working for short attention spans for multiple things at once.
To help you focus your mind on each task try out these tips to become productive without multitasking:
- Be honest – admit that multitasking is bad for you and is not helping you complete tasks quickly, accurately and is leaving you stressed. Be honest, but don’t judge yourself harshly. It takes 30 days to break a habit so develop the habit of being mindful when you are trying to multitask, and the more times you are mindful, the less times you will multitask.
- Create a to do list – When you know what are your priorities are for the day, you be focused on what you have to do during the day. Allocate time for each task as well to enable you to organize your day. I use Ticktick to access my to-do list on my phone and computer. The app allows me to prioritise the most important tasks for the day. There are also apps such as Todoist and Taskmoji you can try out.
- Use FAT – Use the acronym FAT to deal with your emails and paperwork. FAT stands for File, Act and Toss. As soon as you receive an email and it will only take less than a minute to deal with it, use FAT to remove it out of your inbox. The same method applies to paperwork that comes to your intray.
- Don’t go online in your first hour – Switch off your notifications on your phone, turn off the internet, hide Facebook and go through your to-do list for the first hour as much as you can. You will find that you can complete a few tasks and even the big one as you are not distracted.
- Check your email on schedule – I check my emails for 5-10 minutes each hour when not organizing and decluttering. Set yourself a realistic schedule to follow. Either twice a day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon) or a few minutes each hour.
- Know when you work best – I know that when working on my computer, I work best early in the morning and in the evening. During the day I focus on helping clients and attending meetings. Many people are productive in the morning. When do you know you work best? Once you know, schedule to do your important tasks during that time.
- Set a distraction-free environment – Remove the phone, papers and anything else that might distract you from the task at hand. Also clear your desk and remove old papers, stationery, and any other clutter that can reduce your productivity.
If you are struggling being productive due to multitasking, try these tips and start doing them each day until they become a habit. Remember it took a while to have the multitasking habit so it will take a while to break it.
What methods do you use to become more productive. Share your tips in the comment box to help other readers and followers.
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