Yes, I said it, “multi-tasking kills your productivity.”
For years I tried juggling multiple projects, raising little ones and keeping up with everything going on on the internet; along with keeping the laundry done, making sure dinner was ready at a reasonable hour (i.e. before hubby came home), etc.
Yet in doing so, I was always drained and feeling like nothing was being accomplished as well as it should be. Things were falling through the cracks and everything was suffering – kids, work, my husband and the house. On top of it all, I was constantly thinking about work and where my next client was coming from. (Last year I took the summer off and physically/emotionally reset my priorities. Life has run smoother ever since.)
Perhaps you’ve heard that it takes a person 5-20 min. to refocus on something after they’ve been interrupted. Multiply that times all the interruptions and distractions throughout your day.
So if you’re trying to do 3 different things in an hour and you’re jumping back and forth between them, chances are pretty good that none of those things are going to get completed.
If, however, you were able to focus on each task for 20 min. straight, I guarantee you’ll make a lot more progress.
The key is staying focused on just one thing at a time and being fully present with that task. You be able to make more progress on the task or project and probably complete it because your mind is fully engaged on that task rather than having its focus split worrying about 15 other things at the same time. (This was one of the key things I put into practice after my summer sabbatical.)
Staying focused and present or “In the Moment”, as one of my mentors calls it, gives the person or task your focusing on your full attention. Makes them feel valued and respected.
When you’re at work, be present with your work tasks and when you’re playing with your kids, stay engaged and present with them. They’ll know if your thinking about anything other then them. (I know my kids did.)
Your “To Do” item for the week Practice staying “In the Moment” or being fully present with whatever you’re working on. If you catch yourself drifting, recognize it and bring yourself back to what you’re working on. As you practice this, is does get easier.
Set up time blocks for working on different projects or spending time with your kids/family. If you’re working from home, let the kids know that for the next 25 min. you need to focus on such and such a project and afterwards, you can play.
Turn off distractions such as facebook/twitter/IM/phone/etc. Set a timer if need be to keep you focused.
(P.S. I did this in order to write this article and had I not stayed focused, it would have taken me 2 hours instead of 40 min. LOL )
Share in the comments below: Have you been able to combat the multi-tasking monster? What tips do you have for others on staying focused? Share your thoughts. :-)