I'm uh-mazing at multitasking.
Well, at least I used to think I was. Now that I realize how bad multitasking can actually be, and now that I've changed the way I do things, I see a huge difference in not only my productivity but a huge reduction in my stress levels! I've wanted to create a training program for virtual assistants for a few years now, and ONLY once I stopped multitasking did it actually get finished!
Multitasking is satisfying.
I absolutely love how it feels to be doing ten things at once. I've always functioned well during chaotic times, so it's just something I'm used to. The truth is, when I'm doing ten things at once, I'm only giving 10% of my attention to each thing. That's not cool, especially when it comes to family – and business.
When you multitask, but don't get any of the tasks completed 100%, it feels like you accomplished nothing. Not so satisfying anymore, huh?
I built my business on the phrase “always over-deliver”. How can I over-deliver if I'm only giving each project a fraction of my attention? The answer is simple: I can't.
You're not doing anyone any favors.
Even though you might think you're being helpful by multitasking, chances are, you aren't. You're not doing yourself, or your family, or your clients any favors by multitasking. It might feel like you'll get things done at a faster rate, but at what cost?
Don't compromise quality for a chance at efficiency. Most likely, you'll be less efficient – and more stressed out! When you focus on one task at a time, you'll make fewer mistakes and deliver higher-quality work.
Crap, I forgot what I was going to say next.
Did you know that multitasking not only increases stress levels, it lowers the retention rate of what we learn?
Seriously, there's studies on this stuff.
When we're always multitasking, we're never unplugged. Feeling overwhelmed? Try a digital cleanse.
Action steps to take:
1. Close Facebook – and all social media/email – and set up a schedule outlining when you'll use these things, instead of constantly checking them. Don't use the excuse that you “work” on Facebook! I do, too, but you should have a work schedule (if you don't, make one –
now after you're finished reading this post and are ready to move onto the next task). Include social media and email in that schedule.
2. Once you have your to-do list for the day, prioritize it. Then, set a timer for each task – and work ONLY on that task until the timer goes off. Once the timer goes off, you have two options: continue working until the project is finished, or take a break and move onto the next project (if it's a project that will take days/weeks to complete). It's obviously unrealistic to only work on one project at a time if they are the type that will take a long time to finish.
3. Complete tasks in batches. When I sit down to write several blog posts at once, I'll write everything out in my notebook first. So, even if I'm working on three posts, I'm just doing one task. After all of my notes are complete, I'll download some amazing images, and start editing them. Again, I'm working on three posts, but the task at hand is image editing.
Next, I'll start to draft my blog posts. I'll work on one at a time, upload the images, and then publish or schedule them. Last but not least, I'll schedule all of the social media messages related to the blog posts.
So, I'm kinda-sorta multitasking, but I'm being super-efficient while doing so. Creating batches for tasks is one way to accomplish more without taking away from the quality you deliver.
4. Be realistic. Of course we can't always focus on just one task, but this is about taking action steps to better our businesses and increase our profits. These tips are also great to keep in mind when spending time with our family. Turn the phone off (or at least to silent), stop checking Facebook, and say “screw it” to emails for a few hours.