In theory, multitasking seems like a great idea. After all, the more you tackle at one time, the more you can get done, right? Yet over time, multitasking can lead not only to decreased productivity, but also to fatigue and increased stress levels.
Multitasking involves dividing your attention among various tasks in order to complete more at one time. And with the proliferation of sophisticated electronic devices that keep us digitally connected 24/7, it can be increasingly easy to tackle a number of tasks at once.
How to Do One Thing at a Time
Set a time frame. The constant contact, the overlapping deadlines and having no distinct end in a workflow can make you susceptible to multitasking — or at least thinking about one project while you’re working on another. Setting personal deadlines can help prevent the urge to multitask because it creates boundaries: You’re either working on that project or you’re not.
Take a break. Block out 5 to 10 minutes in your work schedule to sit, walk around the office or step outside for some fresh air — to the extent that your workplace allows for it. These small breaks will go a long way in helping you disconnect from the stress and give you a chance to clear your head. You’ll likely find that you return to your task more energized and ready to focus.
Prioritize. Juggling can only get you so far. At some point, you’ll likely drop the ball. (No pun intended!) Before you move to a new task or project, finish what you’re working on. You may shift your priorities based on deadlines or new tasks, but by maintaining a singular focus on what needs to be done first, you’ll improve your workflow and help make sure you’re finishing your work on time.
By making a few changes, you can drop your multitasking habits and embrace the art of doing one thing at a time. Not only will you likely find yourself becoming more productive, you’ll keep your mental and physical health at optimal levels, too.
Have you dropped multitasking in favor of focusing on one task or project at a time? Feel free to share your tips in the comments.