Multitasking – Worth the Hype?

Why does it always seem that there are never enough hours in the day to complete everything we need to do?

In a world that is time-poor and information-rich, we are quickly discovering that constant multitasking decreases productivity. In fact, you might consider it a bit of a modern-day epidemic, but with a little game plan and self-control, you can tackle it all.

Make a list and plan your day.

Productivity is best when we limit our distractions and do the important things first. I actively schedule focused blocks of time to complete big tasks, breaking things out into achievable mini goals and concentrating on the important things first. Time management is imperative – and it’s a beautiful thing.

Respond to non-prioritized requests on a scheduled basis.

After I’ve worked a few hours and have completed these mini goals, I schedule time for distractions. It’s kind of like sprint training – for 90 seconds, hit it hard and for 30 seconds, rest.

Focus on the task at hand for 1.5 – 3 hours and leave 30 minutes to catch up with emails, Facebook, your 3 missed phone calls from mom or “pop-up” tasks. Then, repeat. By learning to focus energy and sprinting with quick rest periods, your productivity will skyrocket. You’ll thank me later.

Don’t be afraid to slow down.

Good time management doesn’t always mean responding to requests immediately. For instance, if I’ve just started my 2-hour sprint to work on a high-priority task and I receive a non-urgent request within the first 15 minutes, I don’t answer. Why? Because it distracts from focusing not only on the high-priority task but on responding to the smaller ones carefully and intentionally.

Think about it. You are one person, there are only 24 hours a day, and 8ish hours in a workday. How often are you truly focused on what you’re doing?

Maybe it’s time to rethink the concept of multitasking. Make a list, respond to low-priority requests on a scheduled basis, and slow down a bit. Odds are, you’ll see a difference in the quality of your work and you’ll undoubtedly be less stressed throughout the day.