How to Stop Multitasking Once and For All

One of my favorite arcade games as a kid was “whack-a-mole.” Remember that game? You had a club in your hand and the object was for you to stare at 9 holes at the same time, while trying to hit a mole as it randomly popped up.

How to Stop Multitasking

Did I just describe your work day? I know mine has certainly felt like that at times. For a long time, experts claimed that those who are great at multitasking are the most productive employees.

Not true. I want to share with you how to stop multitasking.

Steve Uzzell said it best: “Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.” When you try to do several things at once, you end up doing neither all that well. Placing all your energy, resources, and focus into just one thing allows you the opportunity to do something great.

Researchers estimate that we waste up to 28 percent of our workday due to multitasking. If you want to end multitasking once and for all, consider using the following formula.

1. Create a One Sentence Job Description

Andy Stanley walked his leadership through this process. It is easy and sometimes natural for us to end up doing way more than we were hired to do. If you own a business, it is easy for you to jump in and try to manage and control everything.

You stop doing this when you write a one sentence job description. For it to be effective it must include:

  • A description of your core strengths
  • The thing or things that only you can do
  • Someone to remind you when you have gone astray

Why is this that important? Here is a good reason: “Your fully exploited strengths are of far more value to your organization than your marginally improved weaknesses.” – Andy Stanley

2. Schedule a Minimum of 3 Focus Session This Week

Once you are clear on where you add the most value, you need to carve out time to work in a state of flow. For me, this is in the mornings. Like a laptop battery, my energy decreases as the day goes along.

I schedule no appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. I block of these as “focus sessions” on my calendar in order to fully exploit my strengths and give time to do my best work.

3. Plan Ahead for Handling Distractions and Interruptions

You can have all the intent in the world to do great things in your focus sessions, but if you don’t have a plan to handle distractions, you’ll fail. We battle both internal and external distractions.

Dan Miller does his writing in a distraction free room. His focus session happens in a room with no internet, house phone or cell phone. He simply writes.

Depending on your work environment, this may or may not work for you, but I believe anyone can still improve their focus regardless of the environment.

A few tips for preparing for distractions ahead of time:

  • Post a note on your office door. They are less likely to knock.
  • Place a 3×5 card next to you so you can immediately write down any to do, thought, or distraction.
  • Unplug the phone, turn the ringer off, or disconnect from the internet

 

Question: What tips do you have for increasing focus and avoiding multitasking? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    3 thoughts on “How to Stop Multitasking Once and For All

    1. The biggest thing that throws me off during the day is unexpected visitors to my office. Throughout the day people will come and line up outside my office for some sort of technical help. I didn’t want to close my door and lock it, because I didn’t want to be perceived as passive aggressive or upset. But just leaving my door open didn’t help either.

      The solution? I purchased a whiteboard from target and I write out my schedule on the whiteboard along with what I am currently working on. I close my door, cover my window… Anybody that wants to speak with me can see on the whiteboard when my next availability is.

      It’s been super helpful in my mission to focus on one thing at a time.