Multitasking is overrated–and yes, I know as a woman I shouldn’t be admitting this(!), but it’s true. There are some things that go together well: I like to work with music on sometimes and I definitely like to run with my tunes blaring in my ears. I can happily iron while watching a movie (in fact, frankly it’s dull if I don’t!), and I definitely walk and talk at the same time too.
But I still have to remind myself that multitasking with my work time is never going to create the best results. To get the results I want I need to focus, and do each task one at a time. The trick, of course, is to get good at doing lots of tasks one after the after (so it might give the impression you can do a lot of things at once, but really you’re just lightening speed at one at a time). It also helps to batch.
This piece I’m writing right now–it’s been done in a ‘writing batch’. I have my project manager Maria to ‘blame’ for this–I used to write my blogs once a week as I needed them, or as and when I fancied and had ‘inspiration’. Now I sit down and write a month’s worth (or more) in one go, because then I am in 'writing mode' and I can get my groove on. I also do the same for emails that are set to go out over the month too for clients on my programmes (and yes, I may refer to topical events but I’ve thought those out in advance **sneaky but smart**). The only writing I don’t batch–although it does get scheduled into my diary–is my newsletter every week as obviously I have to wait 'til I’ve done stuff before I can write about (time travelling not being my Thing!).
When you want to get a lot done it will get done faster if you do one thing at a time (even if you switch in quick succession). Also, let’s get honest about those ‘distractions’ too. I have to turn off my email and my Facebook to get things done. They are often my ‘reward’ at the end of my work! A cup of tea and spot of social media makes a nice break time.
If you need to set up an environment that stops you even ‘thinking multitasking’, then move. I always get tons done on train journeys as the wi-fi is usually dodgy, causing me to be offline more than online, and I only have with me what I need–not ALL the piles of paper on my desk, not all the distractions of home (the postman, the deliveries, the lure of another cup of tea even though I just had one...). When I’m on the train it’s just me, my notebook, and my Mac. So I write, and I make plans as there’s not much else to do. If you need to create this ‘space’ then do what you need to do.
Multitasking is overrated and it might just be stopping you from doing as much of your brilliant Thing as you could be.
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