From busy individuals I often hear, “I’m a good multi-tasker.”
Yet, when you look at what they are accomplishing it is often fraught with errors, mistakes, and additional effort due to rework.
Does multitasking get more done?
Or does it just run you ragged in the name of additional work?
Triple-Tasking or Triple the Work?
I was recently working with an individual who seemed to do everything at the same time. She was answering the phone, texting on her cell, and answering emails all at once.
Which task do you think she was actually accomplishing?
The answer was… none.
She had to keep asking the person on the phone to repeat details. She had a half-written email that ended up in her “Drafts” folder. And she managed to send a hastily constructed text message complete with a few choice auto-correct typos.
“Multitasking means doing more at a lesser quality of work.” (Tweet this Quote)
This individual was very busy. But, she wasn’t getting much done.
In fact, she was creating more work for herself.
She had to call the person back to confirm some items she had missed in their conversation. She ended up rewriting the email from scratch. And she had to send an embarrassed followup to her non-sensical text message.
Stop the Multitasking
If you want to get more done in less time, you need to stop multitasking.
Instead of doing many things at half-effort, concentrate on your most important tasks… one at a time.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with 57 things started and nothing done.
Here Are 8 Ways to Stop Multitasking and Get More Done:
- Do One Thing at a Time – Contrary to the multi-tasker’s creed, you’ll actually get more tasks done by doing them individually. As well, you’ll do it quicker and with fewer mistakes and less rework.
- Be Present – Be present with your work and with those you are working with. Stay on your current todo and don’t let your focus float to other tasks. This means not checking email while you are meeting with someone. And it means not working during that meeting on your laptop.
- Finish Before You Start – Make sure you finish tasks to closure before starting the next one. There is great productivity momentum in finishing things to done before taking on the next task.
- Don’t Let Small Tasks Interrupt Big Ones – Resist letting small items interrupt big ones. Don’t pick up that 2 minute task just because it’s easy. Don’t answer that email just because you saw it drop into your inbox.
- Put Down the Tech – Technology has allowed us to work anywhere. That doesn’t mean you should. Close your email, turn off the phone, and put down the unneeded tech while you are working.
- Clean Your Workspace – A cluttered desk is a multi-tasker’s dream. Lots of random things to pick up and work on instead of your work. Clear your desk of everything but the task you intend to work on.
- Make An Appointment With Your Work – I am a big advocate of scheduling appointments with your toughest tasks. Designate time to work on one task or project. Go to a meeting room or work location if it helps concentrate on the task at hand.
- Eliminate Interruptions – Interruptions are multi-tasking in disguise. Prevent them by turning off the ringers/beeps, the email notifications, and yes, close your door if you must.
Do Less, Accomplish More
Doing many tasks at once isn’t the answer.
Concentrate on your work one important task at a time.
Multitasking divides your attention and leads to sloppy mistakes.
Focused and on-task gets the work done right the first time.
Question: Are you a multi-tasker or do you prefer to work on things one at a time? You can leave a comment by clicking here.