Mono tasking is the key to peak productivity. The secret is to work on one task at a time, so we will walk through easy ways to start implementing this productivity system to your daily planning.

The Magic of Monotasking: Your Guide to Working More Effectively

What Really is Multitasking?

 

In last week’s blog and podcast episode 009 I talked about how multitasking is actually killing your productivity. Today, I’ve got a solution to give you all and one that I use on a daily basis!

It’s important to note that multitasking and background tasking are two different things. Background tasking can be driving your car while listening to music or podcast – it means using different sections of your brain at the same time, and that works very well.

Multitasking is actually switch tasking. You’re trying to use the same section of your brain on two or more tasks. This could be working on your computer while talking on the phone, for example. It just doesn’t work out because we can’t give our equal attention to both of these tasks.

“I think you’ll find that when you monotask, you will enjoy tasks more and have an improved experience in many ways.”

 

Brain Burnout

 

Have you ever gone home at the end of the day and felt literally brain dead? It’s very likely that multitasking is contributing to this. Many of us spend the majority of our days online and using a computer – I know I do – and doing this uses up our neural resources. These resources can be depleted every time we switch between tasks. So doing this all day every day can be extremely daunting.

When we’re focused on doing a project only efficiently and not effectively, we’re not really doing our best work because we’re too focused on the time that it’s taking. By using the solution of monotasking, you will be focused on your work and in return it will be done effectively. Focusing on one task only allows you to be more creative, push boundaries and not have to go back and correct as many errors later.

At the end of the day you need to be able to relax. I found that I would mindlessly glance at my phone and think about different things I needed to keep doing or redo. I had to really focus to try to get rid of that and focus more on monotasking. I think you’ll find that when you monotask, you will enjoy tasks more and have an improved experience in many ways.

The Solution: Monotasking

 

Monotasking (or single tasking) is dedicating yourself to doing one thing at a time. When you do this, it’s going to make a difference in your daily life. Think of monotasking as mindfulness. We can do this in a few different steps:

  1. Choose one thing each day to focus on solely. Monotasking by doing simple/small things first – brushing your teeth, feeding the dog, doing dishes, etc. Notice everything you can about the activity. Use all five of your senses. When you start to appreciate what’s going on around you, it will feel more enjoyable.
  2. Practice monotasking with your significant other or friend. Put away your cell phone, don’t “phone snub” them and give your attention to your partner. Not only is this a great way to practice monotasking, it’s healthy for your personal life as well.

When your mind begins to wander, acknowledge it and bring your attention back to the task at hand.

 

Break the Habit: My Top Tips to Monotasking at Work

 

The first day is going to be hardest – I’ll tell you that right now. It’ll feel like you’re working so slowly since we’re conditioned to multitask. If you consciously and deliberately tell yourself that you must finish the task and keep going, you will actually get much more done!

Here are my top 5 tips you can start using right now:

  1. Turn off or turn down technology: try not to be a slave to your inbox, set a timer for checking email, have only one program open, have a limit on internet tabs, change or turn off notifications.
  2. Set up a prioritized to-do list and schedule time to tackle it: use the priority system in episode 006, this helps you focus in and get rid of overwhelming tasks. Create a power hour for yourself, create a list of batched tasks.
  3. Stop the physical distractions: people pushing their own agenda on you (priority 3), train co-workers to use your literal inbox on your desk for notes, use apps like slack, trello, asana or voxer. Make your do-not-disturb mode clear.
  4. Organize your workspace: clear items that are distracting so you can find things faster, keep a notepad at hand.
  5. Control your own distractions: block the distracting websites, don’t accept every meeting invite.

 

Regroup and Refocus

 

When you get the urge to stop what you’re doing and redirect yourself, I encourage you to simply take a deep breath and refocus so that you can get back to your task/project.

I know in our modern lives it’s not possible to never multitask, but when you focus on being mindful, practice monotasking and use these tips, you’ll find that your projects and tasks get done faster and more effectively.

If you want even more details or extra help on these tips, listen to episode 010 of the podcast. Even write down these tips in your planner or journal. I personally love having reminders of all sorts – from how to say “no” to people and requests I don’t have time for, to a list of easy and simple ways to monotask!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton