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At any given day, I bet you’re juggling 10 or more things at once. You’re thinking about work, home life, pets, children, friendships, family, and more.
Then December comes along and BANG, now you’re juggling all of the above PLUS present buying, holiday planning, catch ups, work celebrations, year end reflections, new year planning, etc…
With all of this added pressure (from ourselves and society), we may feel like multi-tasking is not just the best way to handle things, it’s also the only way.
Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but it’s not.
While a small percentage of the population (2% according to Forbes magazine in 2017) are good at multi-tasking, for the rest of us, constantly switching between tasks and attempting to multi-task actually decreases our productivity by up to 40%.
See when we’re multi-tasking, while it may feel like we’re working faster and efficiently, we’re actually more likely just spinning our wheels, never really moving forward. We’re producing less than stellar decisions, outputs, and work. We forget what we were doing, where we’re at, and sometimes if we’ve even finished the tasks we’re trying to work through!
We’ve got tabs open on our laptops.
Links saved in our browsers.
Lists all over the place.
Scraps of paper with random notes on them.
We’re also less able to filter out irrelevant information and decrease distractions, meaning we often make mistakes which means going back and redoing the work we thought we’d completed.
In addition to this, multi-tasking also leads to:
Are you getting a clearer picture of why multi-tasking really isn’t ideal?
Now I know it might sound like the complete opposite of what you want to do, but introducing even a few of the suggestions below will go a long way in decreasing your multi-tasking habits and increase your productivity and the quality of everything you do.
1. Focus on one thing at a time.
If you’re finishing up a report, focus on the report. Don’t click on browsers to figure out what time the shopping centres close so you can stop in after work.
2. Be present with whatever task you’re doing…
How can you possibly write a heartfelt Christmas card when your mind is thinking about the email you need to send to your supervisor? Write the card.
3. …. and THEN move on to the next one
With the card written and tucked in its envelope, now you can write up that email and give it your full attention.
4. Commit to “Do Not Disturb” time
It’s hard to ignore all the notifications popping up all day, so let your device do it for you. Either pause, turn off, or set your “Do Not Disturb” so you can really concentrate.
5. Create time blocks
Whether these are in 20minute windows or more or less, set your alarm or timer so you can stick to the task at hand (rather than bouncing from task to task) knowing that your next time block will be focussed on that task.
6. Shift your “big projects” to earlier in the day.
Most people work best in the mornings before decision fatigue and interruptions have kicked in, so carve out this time (by using Do Not Disturb and time blocks) to work on those bigger projects.
Here are three more important ways to reduce multi-tasking are to simplify our decision making so we don’t end up with decision fatigue.
For myself and my clients, I find the tips and tricks above go a long way in decreasing our multi-tasking and decision fatigue.
I want to enjoy this time of year, and want you to do the same, so let’s choose even one of the suggestions above and really commit to it.
Let’s stop multi-tasking and focus on the task at hand.
As always, I’m here to help with these and other ways to get you thriving, so be sure to subscribe to my blog above, and if you’re really keen, book in a here so we can see which of my coaching for programs might be best serve you.