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STOP MULTITASKING, START MONOTASKING
Does multitasking keep you constantly busy but never feeling like you’ve actually achieved much?
Do you realise that every time you stop focusing on a project to ‘quickly’ do something else, your brain takes valuable time to get back into gear on your original project….
…so overall, you’ve actually increased your workload?
Do you ever wonder if there’s a way to jump off the multitasking hamster wheel?
I want to get more done in less time. I want to feel like I’ve achieved something at the end of each working day.
I now know this means I need to stop multitasking.
Instead of juggling several things at once without complete focus on any of them, I’m now prioritising and focusing on getting the important things done, one at a time.
I’ve stopped multitasking and started monotasking.
WHAT IS MONOTASKING?
Monotasking takes inspiration from the current Minimalism movement… it’s about stripping back, discarding the unnecessary and focusing on what’s important.
In simple terms it’s about minimising the number of tasks you undertake in the day and tackling each task with complete focus.
I list monotasking as one of my all time favourite working mum hacks, because it’s so easy to get into the habit of multitasking when you’re a mum, let alone a mum who is juggling working and parenting and the rest of life.
Monotasking gives you focus and defines your time in a way that multi-tasking never can.
Give it a try and see how you get on. Here are seven ways that you can start monotasking:
7 WAYS TO MONOTASK YOUR WAY THROUGH THE DAY
1. List and prioritise
Draw up a to-do list and prioritise what ACTUALLY needs attention THAT day.
Put everything else on the back-burner, or better still, consign it to the ‘not doing it’ pile.
2. One thing at a time
The essence of minitasking is tackling one project at a time with complete focus. Keep your focus and you’ll complete your task more quickly, with less mistakes and less need to rework it.
3. Bite the bullet
Start each day tackling the most important task, no matter how unappealing it is. The sooner it’s done, the sooner it is out of the way. This means it takes up less brain bandwidth worrying about it and you’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction that you’ve done it.
Your email inbox can suck hours out of your day without you even realising.
Emails that need actioning can divert your attention from the project you should be focusing on.
So, what to do…
- Resist checking your emails the second you wake up.
- Resist checking your emails the minute you sit down at your laptop.
- Give yourself set times to check email throughout the day.
- Do not flick back and forward between tasks and email.
5. Social Media
Ditto Social Media… whether it’s a vital part of your business marketing strategy or simply a way to stay connected to your peers… it can devour your spare minutes and swallow whole hours.
Give yourself a couple of water-cooler moments each day to catch up on social media… morning coffee time and afternoon tea time (Yip, I’m British!!) being good opportunities.
If you feel your business needs more social media time, consider using a social media scheduler. There’s TweetDeck and HooteSuite for Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. There are also several Pinterest schedulers out there, though the majority of these have subscription fees.
6. Take notes
Keep a notebook / use Notes on your phone for ideas that pop into your head, jot them down and come back to flesh them out later. That way you won’t worry that you’ll lose a brilliant idea and you won’t divert your brain away from your current project.
7. Time out
Switch off from work once you’ve done a day’s work. Under no circumstances feel tempted to keep doing bits here and there, it just elongates the process and makes you feel frustrated.
Shut the study door, close the laptop, switch off your cell phone, step away from your iPad.Yes really.
If you give yourself proper time to recuperate and for your brain to reboot, you’ll be ready to focus and achieve so much more the next working day.
I’ve already started monotasking through my working day and I can report back that my stress levels are down and my productivity is up. Try monotasking for yourself and let us know how you get on…
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.