Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us are involved in some form of multitasking on a daily basis. We text while walking, send emails during meetings, talk on the phone while cooking, and so on. Being constantly wired, we end up doing more things at once that we really should.
Are we more productive? Actually, no.
Recent studies on multitasking have shown that productivity is reduced by as much as 40% when we do try to do more than one thing at a time. When we become distracted, we lose our ability to focus. As a result, we are less productive, less effective, and more stressed.
WHAT IS SINGLE-TASKING?
Single-tasking is focusing on one important task until it’s finished, by:
- Clearing away distractions
- Doing one thing at a time
- Giving undivided attention to the task at hand
HOW TO SINGLE TASK
If you’ve been thinking about single tasking but don’t know where to start, here are some tips to help you break the habit of multitasking and bring back the joy of focused work:
Make a short to-do list. One of the keys to building a life of lasting significance is the ability to consistently identify and pursue the essential. Having a short to-do list forces us to identify and prioritize our essential goals, so that we know where to focus our energies. The idea: choose what’s essential, eliminate the rest.
Sit down in a quiet place and write down your top 3 priorities for the day. Some things to consider:
- What do you really want to accomplish?
- Who and what is most important to you?
- What can you do that will have the greatest impact on your life?
Clear away distractions. Silence your phone, shut down your email and focus deeply on the task at hand. Avoid the temptation to check email, social media, or news. Give your full attention to the task at hand.
Do your most important thing first. Work on your most important task first. Don’t do anything else until it is finished.
Do one task at a time. Keep it simple by singletasking through your to-do list. Continue working on your 3 essential tasks, one at a time, until they are done.
Take breaks. You will be more productive if you give your brain some down time. When you feel yourself becoming distracted, take a break. Get up and stretch, walk around, or go outside and get some fresh air. Regular breaks throughout your day will help you recharge and refocus.
Revisit your priorities daily. Start each day anew. Re-visit your priorities each day, identify and focus on the essential, and eliminate the rest. It takes time to let go of multi-tasking. But if you keep at it, and stay focused on your life essentials, you’ll eventually be single-tasking like a pro.
By simplifying our life, we can eliminate distractions, make room for the essential, and start to create the peaceful life we really want to live.