While multitasking is often thought to be an added skill, it tends to cause more harm than good. Focusing on one task at a time is more effective than having a pile of tasks to do. Researchers argue that you are more poised to increase your productivity by boosting your focus and avoiding multitasking.
The reality is that you end up lowering your work quality when you focus on more than one thing at the same time. The issue is that multitasking can get very addictive and not many would be willing to stop.
Here are a few tips to help you stop multitasking and increase your focus:
1. Get rid of distractions
Most of the interruptions people face nowadays emanate from mobile phones and other technological devices. These are an embodiment of our daily lives to the extent of interrupting tasks.
It seems like people these days can’t control their desire to check messages and other notifications, primarily because of the increasing social media presence. However, there’s a trick to help you avoid succumbing to this pressure. Switch off the phone or toggle the silent button. As simple as this may seem to be, it goes a long way in helping you avoid multitasking.
2. Make a to-do list
You cannot avoid distractions when you don’t even know what to do as a task. A to-do list will help you plan your day’s activities so that you can avoid getting any distractions. Remember to include a few minutes or hours for rest as you still need to take breaks. You can utilize this free time to check your phone and respond to other distractions.
3. Avoid talking to colleagues during work time
When you’re working and having a conversation, you are vulnerable to messing up on the job. After you’re through and start going through the task, you will realize several flaws that you might have avoided if you kept silent and focused.
4. Have a tidy and serene working environment
Cleanliness is mostly overlooked but is a prerequisite for success in job completion. When your working area is in a mess, you will not think straight, and chances are that you may fall victim of slight distractions.
For example, you might be typing on your desk and hit a glass off the table. You will need to clear the mess before getting back to work, which is time-wasting because you’ve deviated from the job.
“Multitasking is like constantly pulling up a plant. This kind of constant shifting of your attention means that new ideas and concepts have no chance to take root and flourish.” – Barbara Oakley
5. Boost focus
Learn to concentrate on one thing without thinking of another at a particular time. For example, if you are working on a job report, put your mind to it alone, without thinking of the appraisal forms you need to fill out. This will help you clear one task rapidly and with accuracy, before moving onto the next one.
6. Learn about your habits
The best way to diagnose a problem is to find its root cause. Sit down and evaluate your workday by seeing what takes the majority of your time. Self-evaluation will go a long way in making sure you don’t get distracted while working on any task.
7. Do one thing at a time
It’s crucial for you to remain focused on one thing at a time. It is wrong to believe that multitasking helps you to get everything done quickly and appropriately. If anything, you are wasting more time than you will save when doing things in a particular sequence.
Also, carrying out different tasks at the same time often leads to rework or shoddy results. While you might think that you completed the task at hand before time, you may be required to start over again if someone else checks your work. In the end, you will waste more time than you can save.
8. Work in intervals
You cannot work from morning to evening and expect your brain to be alert throughout. The typical human brain can only work for a certain amount of time. You need to take frequent stops to refresh and boost your focus. When you work without breaks, your mind may start drifting away, causing you to multitask.
Some people claim they don’t have proper time management skills. If you cannot manage your time well, then come up with a to-do list that will act as a guide. Scientists have proven that the human brain functions optimally when given breaks. This tip will equally help you increase your focus when working.
9. Avoid checking out other sites not related to the work you are doing
Unfortunately, this is a huge problem that many people face in their daily activities. For instance, someone will be researching the web for information on real estate and quickly take a glance at the Facebook or Twitter tab. As much as this may only take five minutes per check, you will end up checking more than once. Put together; you will realize how much time you have wasted in your day.
While you thought it was one innocent check that didn’t even go past one minute, the reality is that you probably spent an hour – plus an inconsistent result on the task you were handling. To solve this problem, you can opt for a browser blocker that will hide all the sites that you are used to checking frequently. Alternatively, if you’re disciplined enough, close all the unnecessary tabs on your browser.
“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” – Tony Robbins
10. Start with the hard ones before heading for more manageable tasks
Most people begin with easy tasks before the hard ones, and this can derail your focus. If you work from the morning hours, you need to look at the challenging tasks first and then later you can handle the easier ones.
Wrapping up, you have seen what to do to alleviate multitasking and boost focus instead. Remember to avoid multitasking as this can lead to inconsistency and poor performance at work. Finally, make sure you are taking enough breaks to refresh the mind.