If there's one skill you need to eliminate from your resume, it's multitasking. While multitasking is sometimes viewed as a valued skill, focusing on one task at a time is actually more efficient, according to Forbes. Once you know how to avoid multitasking and become better at working on one project at a time, you'll probably be surprised how much your productivity levels increase.
Doing a million things at once has actually been proven to slow down productivity and lower your work quality. According to INC., MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller said, "[Our brains are] not wired to multitask well...when people think they're multitasking, they're actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there's a cognitive cost."
While you might be feeling like you're accomplishing a lot, you're actually not allowing your brain to organize your thoughts — and technology isn't helping, either. For instance, it might be hard for you to focus on a project you're working on when you're constantly getting notifications from your phone and computer. While answering each of those emails and text messages at that given time might be eliminating work, it will take you longer to focus back on the original task. According to LinkedIn, it can take about 15 minutes to get back to work after answering emails. Not good. While trying to get your brain to focus on one task sounds like a lot of work in itself, it's actually imperative for you to master to complete more tasks. Here are 11 ways for you to avoid multitasking throughout your day.
1. Don't Look At Your Phone In The Morning
It might not seem like looking at your phone in the morning has anything to do with multitasking, but it's actually a huge productivity killer. According to Entrepreneur, founder and president of NuttZo Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi said, "Do not check your phone or email when you first wake up," Dietz-LiVolsi said. "Wait at least 60 minutes, so you are not jumping right into a ‘reactive’ state of mind."
2. Eliminate Outside Distractions
Instead of letting pop-ups of emails and text messages grab your attention, turn off your notifications so you can concentrate effectively. "To successfully unitask, you need to do the same type of thing; eliminate any outside distractions," says Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation , in an interview with Forbes.
3. List Out Your Priorities
Before you get to work, try to write a list of the most important tasks you need to complete that day and work on them in that order. "It is a myth that multi-tasking speeds our productivity. In fact, it slows productivity down. The outcome of avoiding multi-tasking (when possible) is that the task will be completed more thoroughly with additional focus and attention which adds to overall improved productivity in anything you do," says psychologist Kim Chronister, PsyD in an interview with Bustle over email.
4. Be Mindful
Even when you're trying to unitask, make sure you're being present during that moment. "Staying mindful of a task means when urges to tend to other tasks enter the mind, observe the urge, and redirect your attention back to the primary priority (the most important task at hand)," says Chronister.
5. Schedule A Time For Distraction
Instead of allowing yourself to check your email throughout the day, only schedule yourself certain moments to do so. According to Time, cluttertasking is a technique when you do certain assignments during specific times of the day. For instance, only checking your email right when you get into the office and right before you leave.
6. Don't Be Afraid To Say No
Sometimes you take on more than you can chew and you try to multitask to complete it all. But instead of trying to finish more tasks than you can handle in a day, try to say no to whomever is asking you to take on another project. According to Forbes, When you're saying no to your colleague, don't give them a list of reasons why. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. They will most likely understand either way.
7. Clean Up Your Desk Area
It's easy to get distracted when your desk is a mess. Take the time to organize so you can set yourself up for success. According to Greatest, find a place for everything and keep your papers in line so you know where everything is. This will allow you to stay focus on your task much easier.
8. Strengthen Your Focus
When people multitask a lot, they tend not to focus well on one particular thing. According to Oprah.com, schedule a small amount of time where you can just deal with a mentally challenging task. Once you complete that, extend the time even further so you can strength your focus.
9. Unitask During Your Prime Times
Always try to do your most challenging work during your most effective times. According to Mayo Clinic, if you're a morning person, use that time to tackle your harder projects instead of just answering emails. Figure out when exactly you're most productive at work to help eliminate your brain from wondering on other tasks so you can singularly focus on that project you need to complete. Then leave the less important tasks to be done during your weaker moments during other hours of the day.
10. Be Aware Of Your Habits
If you really want to eliminate your multitasking habit, track your work day. According to LinkedIn, keep a log or journal to help identify patterns of how effective you work and when you get distracted. It can keep you aware of your weak moments of when you lose focus so you can fix them for the future.
11. Use Apps To Block Distractions
If you're the type of person to check your social media accounts every five minutes, then you might want to download an app to block you from viewing them. For instance, SelfControl, a free Mac OS X application tool, will allow you to pick which websites you don't want to use for a set amount of time.
Don't get distracted by multitasking. It does more harm than good and doesn't allow you to complete good authentic work. Use these tasks to keep you focused on a singular task and soon you may see a huge difference in how you produce your work.
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