The old adage that suggests “multitasking” is a valuable skill is misinformed. Don’t get me wrong, being capable of adapting to multiple challenges or issues at one time is a valuable and necessary skill, but it’s a skill that we should apply sparingly. It may actually be decreasing your productivity.
Our tendency to manage multiple tasks simultaneously has resulted in a dispersion of our attention and a reduction in our level of productivity. Just because an email has arrived in our inbox does not mean it requires our immediate attention.
There are five things you can do to break a “multitasking” habit and increase your productivity:
1. Minimize your daily priorities: Too many priorities creates the desire to manage multiple tasks. You can only focus on 1 thing at a time, so minimize your daily priorities to maximize your focus.
2. Set time targets: To avoid your attention wandering, set aggressive time targets to complete your priorities. This will help you plan your day effectively and provide a means to measure your progress.
3. Eliminate outside distractions: When focusing on your priorities, clear your mind and desk of other distractions. Close your email, forward your phone and if necessary, close your door.
4. Communicate your priorities: The more you communicate your priorities, the better chance others will support you in accomplishing them.
5. Document your progress: They say that we only write down those things worth writing about. By writing down your priorities, time targets and progress, you formulate a self imposed “accountability” to achieving your objectives.
Challenge yourself to drop the multitasking habit and increase your productivity. What’s stopping you, another priority?
© Shawn Casemore 2014. All rights reserved.