5 Ways to Minimize Multi-Tasking

The summer is winding down, kids are back in school and the fall work projects are ramping up. It’s so tempting to get over over committed this time of year. Doesn’t that sound familiar! But we quickly regret saying yes to so many requests – our plates are overfilled and tipping over. So we just work harder and “multi-task” even faster. But is that really effective? Many times it is not.

Downsize of Multi-Tasking

The research (and our own observation) confirm that we simply can’t do several things at once and do them well. Do you know that it takes between 9-15 minutes to refocus when you have been interruped from a task. So while you’re trying to get back to where you were you are losing valuable time and energy. We can feel our stress level going up because we’re not getting anything done well – and we’re making mistakes – silly, stupid mistakes that take even more time to fix. And it leaves us with a feeling at the end of the day “I didn’t get anything important done today.”

Beach ChairReduce Your Multi-Tasking

Resist the temptation to multi-task by practicing on concentrating on one thing at a time. Select what is most important (to your business, to your job, to your boss) and make a personal commitment to be the best that you can be by being present in the moment. Stay focused until you get the job done. Sounds simple but it’s actually takes practice, practice and more practice. Especially when you’re getting pressured to do several things at once – being pulled into other people’s urgent requests. But by managing your time and energy effectively you are doing what you’ve been hired to do. But it’s tough to resist the temptation to start juggling tasks. But this has several things that have worked for me . . .

  1. “Chuck” your time by setting aside a block of time to concentrate on one task at a time.
  2. Resist reading your email early in the morning because it pulls you away into multiple directions – many relatively unimportant.
  3. Be more realistic about how much time a task will really take and build in some extra time as well.
  4. Close your eyes when talking on the phone so that you can really concentrate.
  5. Take at least three things off your list today to minimize feeling fragmented.

So think about it . . . are you ready to resist the popular notion that multi-tasking is the way to go? If so, try these tips to see how they work for you. You will be pleasantly surprised!

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