Stop multitasking to get more done
I cannot believe it’s taken me this long to work this out
I used to take great pride in my abilities to multitask. “I’m really a supermum”, I would think, and I would take pride in “doing at all”, all the time.
I was constantly doing, feeling exhausted, and getting overwhelmed because things were taking ages to get crossed off my list. And I never felt like I was doing anything properly.
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You are not multitasking, you are task switching
It finally occurred to me that multitasking is really nothing but task switching. And since I’ve been perpetually task switching, I take much longer to finish one thing, and I’m not doing it as well as I could have.
Tell me I am not the only one who feels this way?
There is no such thing as multitasking unless you are literally typing with one hand and cooking with another. This is obviously not possible, as at any given time you are either typing or cooking.
And, turns out that multitasking not only makes you inefficient and causes quicker burn out, it impairs your executive functions in the brain. These functions control and manage your cognitive processes that determine when, and in what order certain tasks are performed.
So, here’s what I’ve started doing instead, and I’m dramatically more productive
Time blocking: I pick a task and then block out time to get it done. In that time, I do nothing else.
Switching off all other distractions: At work, I shut all other windows open on my computer. I mark my calendar as busy, and put my phone away and on silent. By doing this, I find that if I have blocked 30 minutes for a task, I finish it in much less time.
At home, I tell my kids and my nanny that I need one hour of uninterrupted time. After this, I promise to play with my kids, or doing something they want me to do with them. This works SO well. I put a timer on, so they know my time is up, and they wait for it!
Task batching: When I look at my list of things to do, I try to batch tasks. For example, replying to my emails and scheduling my day go together; paying bills and banking go together; buying groceries online and picking a birthday gift online for a classmate of my daughter go together.
Prioritizing must do’s for the day: Our to do list is SO long. Prioritizing what cannot wait is a great way to cross things off and not worry about the rest.
Using Notion: Everything I need to do outside of work, I do in Notion. Which means, I can access it anytime from anywhere and work on it between times. I’m someone who keeps a lot of stuff in my head, and am notorious for not writing it down in a notebook that I will know where to find, when I need it. Since Notion is in the cloud, it allows me to dump everything there and I can find it anytime thanks to the search function. I’m also learning how to better organise my mind and plan using Notion.
We are in an incredibly busy time across all fronts as we approach the end of the year. Let’s get everything done and do it well, without ending the year burnt out.
Wishing you a great week ahead.
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