Sure sometimes multitasking is beneficial and needed, but in most cases what it really does is spread us too thin. We divide our focus amongst several different tasks and sure they get done but not to the best of our abilities.
If we have two jobs to do and can’t focus on just one of them and finish it to the best of our abilities than neither of those tasks will be completely properly. Not to mention, our brains are not capable of doing the heavy duty multitasking we force it to do.
Why do we multitask?
When you look at your to-do list and you have say ten things on it. If you take fifteen minutes and get five of those tasks done in a some what satisfactory way, at least to the point that it is done you are going to feel much more satisfied with your work than if you take the same amount of time and finish one item to the best of your ability.
Everyone falls victim to multitasking, myself included. There is nothing better than ending your day and knowing everything you wanted to finish is done.
Busy Looks Better
From the inside out multitaskers look like they are busy and get things done. Of course we want to be like the person who gets all of their jobs done fast instead of like that person who does one job really well. We see people juggling a cell phone, email, site updates, social media all while on their lunch break and think, ‘I’d love to be able to do that!’
We push ourselves to do more and more thinking this will increase our productivity when at the end of the day it just decreases it.
How can we stop multitasking and be more productive?
Remove Temptation and Distraction
This is especially important when doing any online work. The internet is full of bells and whistles that grab our attention and hold onto it. Try some of the following tips to keep your work high and your distraction low online.
How many times have you found yourself with facebook and twitter open while you’re reading your favourite blog (hopefully this one) and checking your email at the same time?
How much do you miss in each area because you’re constantly bouncing between each window? Instead of having each open all at the same time try to limit yourself to one browser.
Read and reply to emails, then check out your facebook, move onto twitter and finally check out that blog. You’ll get much more from an article if you read the whole thing before bouncing off to check the new message you have waiting in your inbox.
Start a To-Do List
Write down everything you want to get done the next day. Anything not completed at the end of the previous day can be number one on the next days list. Then stick with it! Check out my Ultimate To-Do List for more ideas on how to get the most from your List!
Change your Work Location
This helps to keep you more engaged throughout the day. Sure in some cases this is easier than others. For those who work at home moving to a new room or outside is a lot easier for those who don’t. But even at work you can accomplish this.
Take a look at your tasks, maybe you have to write a report but you also have to email some clients and then you need to make photo-copies of a newsletter that needs to go out to your fellow colleagues. So, write your report and instead of staying at your desk take a break and go to the copy room.
You’re still doing work and accomplishing something on your to-do list while getting a change in your day and a bit of a break.
Track Your Time
This is great for those who can’t seem to understand why they are running out of time to get things done. At the end of your day look back and think how much time you wasted. Did you stand at the water cooler and talk to your buddy for half an hour?
Once we become aware of the time we spend doing certain tasks, and the time we waste we can notice this issues during the act instead of afterwards.
At the end of the day do you really want to have five things off the list done somewhat well or would you rather walk away from a task knowing you gave it your all and have successfully completed something you can be proud of?
Oh, and by the way, according to most studies listening to music while doing something else isn’t considered multitasking so if you’re one of those who love to take a run with your head phones on you’re still good!