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Do Not Multitask!

>> Friday, 15 March 2013

Multitasking - The Biggest Productivity Killer

How many times have you heard that in order to be effective and productive, you need to be able to multitask?  Employers always want their people multitask. Why? So that you can do the work of more people and they only have to pay for one person. Everyone says this is a great skill to have. What a load of crap.

Multitasking means that someone is going to give you something to do and you need to learn how to juggle this with other requests as well as your own things. I mean how many times have you spent the whole day juggling a bunch of tasks but only to feel at the end of the day that you have accomplished very little and that tomorrow you are going to have to go back to work again and do the same routine again.

"But I have been so busy", you say to yourself. Well, you probably have been busy running off your feet but don't get caught in the illusion that being busy equals being productive.

To me, multitasking has the end result of doing a lot of things badly or at best mediocre. This is because you are having to divide your attention up so that you can give a little bit of energy and brain power to a whole lot of things as opposed to giving your full attention to one thing at a time. Multitasking also opens you up for distraction. Once you are distracted, it can take you a while to shift your brain back into the frame of what is needed to complete the original task again. Darting your brain backwards and forwards so many time during the day only really serves to leave you more exhausted further into the day which means your productivity and of course motivation drops leaving you to do more tasks badly.

In order to get around multitasking and start achieving some really meaningful accomplishments, you need to start getting good at prioritizing. If you want to have the satisfaction of really feeling that you have been productive and achieved something in your day, then you need to get clear in your head the things that are most important. Ask yourself, 'what key activities, do I need to complete or at least start today, that is going to give me the greatest sense of achievement at the end of the day'?

My solution to the multitasking is to instead, focus on a few things and do them well.

An easy way to do this is to try this experiment for a day. Write on a piece of paper or in your calendar/to do list the 3 or 4 key things that will produce results. Something that you know when accomplished will make you feel proud and a sense of achievement. Then decide how much time you want to allocate to this and block out that time in your calendar so that you can solely dedicate to working on that one specific task at a time.

So stop believing the myth that multitasking makes you more productive. Reclaim your day and put an end to 'being extremely busy but not actually achieving anything'. Learn to focus on the key things that are going to produce real results, results that makes you sit back at the end of the day with the immense feeling that you were effective and productive. And don't forget, busy does not equal productive.


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