Four Ways to Stop Multitasking

Career Blog

By now we’ve all realized that multitasking doesn’t help improve productivity. It just allows you to screw several things up in quick succession. To avoid looking like a ferret on Red Bull adopt the following four strategies. You’ll slow your roll and speed your path to career prosperity.

  1. Realize There are NO Urgent Emails: If something is important the phone will ring. If something is critical, you’ll hear a knock. Dedicate a portion of the day – ideally your lower energy times – to tackle email. Devote the bulk of your high-energy time to big issues and actual work. While working, shut off email, chat apps, and yes, the Internet.
  2. Procrastinate Wisely: If you can’t eliminate it, automat it, or delegate it, make a Yoda-like business decision. Simply Do or Do NOT. If not, procrastinate proudly. Just be sure to feed the task into the next day’s decision-making funnel. Either it will drop off as truly unimportant or you’ll feel the urgency and realize you have to tackle it. Either way – decisions are multitask killers.
  3. Project Manage Your Work/Life: You wouldn’t schedule a contractor to install hardwood flooring and paint the same room at the same time. Speed comes from staging tasks in a logical sequence, so roadmap your day and then tackle that punch list with a Zen master’s focus.
  4. Process Manage Your Work/Life: Productivity comes from moving fluidly from one task to the other. Gain efficiency by eliminating process failings that interrupt your flow whether they are mental or physical.

Since I’ve already mentioned Yoda and Zen, perhaps I should close by paraphrasing the master of speed, Bruce Lee who reminded us to be like water. You can’t run in two directions. To flow through your day with both power and grace, you need focus on the challenge and adapt to its demands. A paradox perhaps, but when you stop spinning you start rolling.

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