People are finally waking up to realize that multitasking is not really a thing. The human brain does not have the ability to truly focus on more than one thing at a time and do it well. Outside of the automatic functions of your brain (such as walking, talking, and breathing), you cannot do serious work or even play with your kids right if you’re trying to do more than one thing at a time.
The human brain cannot multitask. That’s a fact born out by studies conducted by many scientific organizations and educational institutions like Stanford University. Accept that fact so that you can learn to be more productive and break the multitasking habit.
Turn Off the Noise
Noise is anything that distracts you from the thing that you’re currently doing. Turn off your cell phone, turn off your email, turn off the TV and truly focus on that book you’re trying to read. Turn it all off and truly focus on that work you’re doing for your clients. Turn it off and really focus on playing with your son for fifteen minutes. And for goodness sake, turn it all off while you’re enjoying dinner with your family.
Create To-Do Lists
When it comes to stopping yourself from multitasking, the best friend you have is your to-do list. Include everything you need and should do in a day on your to-do list so that you can know what you’re facing. You may find you do not have time to watch that rerun of Friends or spend all that “networking” time on Facebook.
Prioritize the Lists
Once you create a to-do list it’s important to put it in order of priority. Anything with a due date is easier to put into priority but remember to put yourself up at the top of the list. Your health, your family, and your life are more important than anything else. It’s important to understand this as you set up your avoidance systems to multitasking.
Set up Schedules and Systems to Avoid Multitasking
Use your list to set up a calendar and task reminder system that will help you see how productive you are. You want to actually track the time you spend on each thing so that you can get really good at saying yes or no to new things because you know how much time you really have.
Learn the Most Effective Way to Use Your Calendar
Your calendar isn’t just for work or doctor appointments. Your calendar can be used as a to-do list. Use something like Google Calendar so that you can easily see everything at a glance for any given day. You can even set up reminders for yourself. Schedule personal and business items on the same calendar, remembering how important it is to put yourself first.
First Things First
When you look at your calendar, make sure you set things up by time. Always give yourself more time for each thing than you think you need. A good rule of thumb is to work out how long you think it will take and multiply it by 1.5 to get a better time. If you finish before your time is up, that’s great. Take some time out to walk around, read a book, and clear your mind.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more you learn to tune out interruptions and stop trying to do everything at once, the more you’ll like focusing on one thing at a time. You’ll find that you get more done, have more free time, and improve your outlook exponentially.
Multitasking is not something you want to do. You cannot become good at it. Don’t tell people you’re a good multitasker; you’re not. No one is. You just think you are. Try putting the things in place that are on this list and track your progress, and you’ll see that you are far more productive when you break the multitasking habit than you were before.