Many people take pride in their ability to multitask, but new research shows that monotasking (i.e. only focusing on one job at a time) is more efficient. Multitasking uses more energy apparently, and you become less, not more, productive each time you mentally change gears to switch from one task to another. Here are my top tips to be more effective by monotasking.
Give yourself time
Be realistic about how long you need to do a task. We frequently underestimate how long even the shortest jobs take. So rather than shoehorning something into your day, make sure you allocate a reasonable amount of time for your mission by planning ahead. Have clear goals for what you want to achieve and plan your time carefully – and realistically.
Calm your environment
Ensure that you have a clear area to work. Environmental clutter can be really disruptive, so remove anything that could distract you from your desk. If you find it easier to concentrate in silence, turn off the radio or move to a meeting room if possible to allow full concentration.
Monotasking may not come naturally, so start by allocating 10 minutes to one specific task and do not allow yourself to be distracted. As your focus improves, you will be able to concentrate for longer on one subject.
Remove distracting technology
This includes removing your phone or any other distracting technology from where you are. Switch your phone off, or put it on silent for the duration you have set for the task at hand. Turn your laptop to flight mode to avoid the urge to immediately check your emails. You can always look at your emails later. In most cases they can wait for 15 minutes, or even an hour or two.
Do not let others distract you either
Let your friends, colleagues or family know that you need to be undisturbed for a certain period of time. Be clear and assertive. It is important to you to complete your task.
Have a break
We all have a finite concentration span, so respect yours and have a little break every so often to allow yourself to recharge and refocus. Go for a short walk, make a cup of tea, take a few deep breaths. Whatever you need to be able to truly focus on what you are doing.
Give monotasking a go and see if you notice improved productivity.
I'm a Personal Coach who loves finding out about what makes people tick and helping them to make the changes necessary to get to where they want to go.