How a Different Approach to Multitasking Can Make You More Efficient

Before we discuss whether or not multitasking is a best practice, let’s define the term: Multitasking is attempting to do more than two things simultaneously. 

But is multitasking really a good way to go about your work day?

Many managers and workers think it is. But according to various experts, our brains don’t handle multitasking situations well.

As soon as two tasks require our attention, productivity suffers. This opinion has been shared for some years by institutions such as Stanford University and the American Psychological Association (APA).

It’s also been proven that multitaskers do less and miss information. It takes time (an average of 15 minutes) to get re-focused on a task after a distraction such as an email. Efficiency can drop by as much as 40%. Long-term memory suffers and creativity — a skill associated with keeping in mind multiple, less common, associations — is reduced.

So if you consider multitasking a ticket to that promotion you’re seeking, you may assume you’re accomplishing a lot, but the chances are you’re really not being as efficient as you think.

Multitasking 2.0

However if you look at multitasking as the ability to move more or less quickly from one task to another, vs. trying to do eight things at once, you can be more efficient – and effective.

Here’s how to go about it:

Set Priorities

Write down what you need to accomplish that day – then stick with each task until completion. Understanding the relative impact of each item helps you better prioritize them. That way, if a request comes in, but it’s less important than what you’re working on, you can resist the urge to multitask and focus on what you were already doing.

Try the Pomodoro Technique

If you want to find a way to make taking breaks productive, the Pomodoro Technique might be for you. A pomodoro is a 25-minute work session, after which there’s a five-minute break. After doing this four times, you take a longer break of around 20 minutes. By working in short spurts, you’re more likely to be productive while staying motivated. Because you’re intensely focused using this technique, it’s easier to avoid multitasking while staying focused on one thing.

Consider Timeboxing

Timeboxing is a time management strategy that helps you focus and get work done quickly –  that’s really pretty simple. When you create a timebox, you’re setting an expectation for how long a task should take. For example, you know a business email should take you 90 minutes to write – that’s your time box. When you begin, ignore all distractions until the timebox is over. This technique ensures you’re completely finished with your work before switching to a new task.

Protect Your Privacy

Even without timeboxing, using do not disturb features is a great way to protect your focus time. If you know you need to get a project done but you frequently get distracted by notifications, using this function allows you to get in the flow. Do not disturb isn’t just for your computer, either. To make the most of this technique, make sure to turn notifications off on your cell phone, too.

Contact Management Registry, Inc. Today

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