“The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere.”~ Xun Zi, Chinese philosopher
When I was working hard to learn and be productive so I could advance in my career, it was all about multi-tasking. I was good at it. I pushed myself to be better, and I was proud of my abilities.
Now it is all about monotasking.
So what is monotasking? Monotasking is the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the job is complete or a specific time has elapsed.
Multitasking is the ability to divide one’s focus among multiple tasks.
According to Bryant Adibe in an article published by Inc.com, “At the end of our lives, no one will remember how quickly we responded to emails, and no one on their deathbed asks for more time to sit through another budget meeting. Instead, we look for more time to do and experience the things that give us meaning and a sense of purpose. That is at the core of monotasking – it is about rethinking the way we work so that we can more meaningfully engage with our environment.”
For someone who enjoyed multitasking, while I understand the concept of monotasking, if I were in the workforce today, I might have a difficult time changing from one mindset to another.
So how do we learn to embrace the practice of monotasking?
Unplug from distractions.
Most of us participate in Social Media, and it is considered the biggest distraction we have. An experiment on Manoush Zomorodi’s Note to Self podcast found that information overload makes us prone to distractions, and therefore less productive. “Our gadgets and all the things we look at on them are designed not to let us single-task,”
Multitasking divides your attention and leads to confusion and weakened focus.Deepak Chopra
Change the way you organize your to-do schedule.
If you are a multi-tasker, you are used to making lists of things to do each day and strive to get them all done.
When practicing monotasking, it is better to start each day with one or two tasks to complete that have meaning and purpose.
Ask yourself what can I do today that will have the most significant impact. Concentrate on that; if it is worth doing, it deserves our best effort.
We usually are most productive early in the day, so plan on working on the most important or urgent task first when you are the freshest.
Design a schedule that includes a break.
Studies show that taking a short break of 15 minutes each hour increase our overall productivity.
So get up and move around; take a walk, have a drink of water or coffee, or enjoy a snack. Visit with a co-worker.
Taking a break allows us to get back to work with renewed energy and a sense of purpose. It will enable us to recharge and gain a new perspective.
Learn to go into Do Not Disturb mode.
If possible, turn off your phone and close your office door. Put up an imaginary image of a do not disturb sign in your mind. If you can, let others know you are unavailable for a specific amount of time.
Use a timer. Set it for an hour and get to work. When you have a deadline, it encourages you to work more efficiently.
There are applications you can use to keep you on track, such as HoursTracker, that makes it easier to keep your projects on track. It can be used for individuals, teams, and billing clients.
Strict Workflow is a Google Chrome application that enforces a 25 min/5 min workflow–25 minutes of distraction-free work, followed by 5 minutes of break.
Use monotasking away from work too.
When you leave work, incorporate monotasking for all your free personal time too. It will help train your brain to follow this more efficient way of working and also enjoying everything you do.
Be more mindful and focus on what you are doing; rather, it is completing a work project or playing with your children or having a meaningful conversation with your family.
Practicing monotasking can be beneficial for all aspects of your life.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”~ Paul J. Meyer
Thanks so much for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it.