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You may pride yourself on your ability to multi-task – but multi-tasking is really a way of saying that you’re not able to focus on one thing at a time. In your work this tendency can keep you from being as productive as you’d like to or need to be.
Multi-tasking can actually cause your stress levels to increase as well. You can schedule time for true rest and relaxation which will improve your focus. There are several things you can do to reduce your multi-tasking tendencies, increase productivity, and feel less rushed and stressed.
First, plan out your day. Many people find that it’s best to do this the day or night before so that they can begin each day with a plan in place. Your schedule should include blocks of time in which you’ll be focused on one task only.
For example, if you need to use social media to interact with clients or customers you will block off a specific amount of time to do that each day instead of going back and forth with it all day long. You can schedule more than one block of time if need be, but you shouldn’t interrupt another task in order to get on a social media site.
Responding to emails and phone calls is another task that can end up taking up time throughout the day and distracting you from other work. Choose two blocks of time to do this each day – once in the beginning of the day and once at the end.
Break larger projects into smaller tasks that you can complete. This will help you create a “to do” list that is manageable and allows you to focus on each smaller task within the larger project. You’ll find that you won’t feel as overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed can often lead to problems with focus.
It’s also important to plan breaks throughout your day. If you know that you’re going to have a fifteen minute break in an hour, it’s easier to focus on a specific task instead of becoming distracted by other things you’d like to be doing.
Becoming aware of your multi-tasking tendencies is critical as well. You may notice that there are certain times of the day when you lose focus or certain tasks that cause you to wander into other areas instead of remaining focused.
When you know which times of day are a struggle, you can work on a plan specifically tailored to help you stay productive during those periods. These might be the best times to schedule your daily breaks.
Multi-tasking takes away your focus and can keep you from working efficiently and effectively. But when you develop a plan and pay attention to your needs, you can reduce your multi-tasking tendencies and improve your success.