Day 9 - Stay Calm at Work by Focusing on One Project at a Time

February 28, 2020

 

I've already mentioned multi-tasking before in previous days. It's worth mentioning again. People everywhere seem to be in a rush. We all have a lot to do, yet the same 24 hours each day in which to get it done. Chances are you've tried multi-tasking in order to get more accomplished. This might seem like a good plan, but it's not always as effective as you might expect it to be. The truth is, multi-tasking is terrible for your productivity. Your brain isn't built to process activities in such a way. You'll get more done, not to mention feel more mindful and calm, when you focus on just one thing at once. Staying on task and being efficient is especially important on the job. Keep reading to discover why you'll experience less stress at work by focusing on one project at a time. 

 

About Single-Tasking

 

Single-tasking is the opposite of multi-tasking. It involves focusing on just one activity and seeing it through until completion before starting something else. Allowing your brain to work through just one thing at a time leads to faster and more efficient processing. That's why you accomplish more when single-tasking than when trying to double up on your duties. Your mind simply functions better when it isn't overtaxed. While it is possible to do more than one thing at a time, it's best when each activity is a relatively simple one that doesn't require a great deal of cognitive effort. Things that come naturally to you or that can seemingly be performed on autopilot are fine. However, combining tasks that require great thought or a lot of brain power will likely lead to problems. 

 

Benefits of Doing One Thing at a Time

 

Single-tasking eliminates the need for your brain to switch gears constantly, making performance more efficient. When your brain can work more optimally, you'll get more done. You're also less likely to make careless errors, improving your end performance or product. Once you become accustomed to single-tasking, you'll soon notice you feel freer and more in control of your time. You won't feel the need to check in with social media every hour or to open your email with each alert you hear. You'll no longer feel beholden to the pressure to be on alert all the time or to get as much done in as little time as possible. You won't feel nearly as stressed once you learn to give up multi-tasking. Plus, you'll be able to concentrate better for longer periods once you train your brain. 

 

How to Get Started

 

Start by prioritizing your tasks. Choose the most important and get started. Eliminate background distractions by closing excess computer tabs or turning off social media and email notifications. When you've finished, you can then move onto another project. If you need some reinforcement, there are productivity apps that can restrict tempting sites like Facebook or Instagram for increments of time, forcing you to pay attention to your work. Practice seeing things through. For example, finish reading an entire article before getting up to talk to a co-worker about an upcoming deadline. Finally, be sure you have a comfortable workspace with everything you need close at hand. This will eliminate the temptation to take multiple trips to the kitchen for snacks or to sneak out to stretch your legs. It's worth mentioning, however, sometimes we need those little breaks in between tasks. They can be particularly helpful in making the transition from one completed undertaking to the beginning of the next. 

 

Learning to give up multi-tasking will take practice. I assure you it's worth it. You'll get more done and make fewer errors. The bonus is that you'll also feel much calmer. 

 

Sparkles and Love,

 

 

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About the Author

 

 

 

Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with life support. 

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