How to Stop Multi-Tasking To Finish Projects and Move Forward in Your Career or Business
Ever have this happen? You’re reading an article, it gets you thinking of something else so you open another window and search for your idea. Soon, you have 8 tabs open. They’re all filled with half-read articles. Or, you’re trying to do work when you remember you haven’t checked Instagram in a while. So, you open the app. That somehow leads to you checking your email and then an hour passes without you making any headway in your work.
“The problem with trying to multi-task is all that shifting back and forth between tasks isn’t all that efficient because, each time we do it, it takes our brain some time to refocus.” (Lisa Quast- Forbes)
Multi-tasking is sometimes fine, especially when you’re working in a place where you’re interrupted often. Or, you’re doing something that requires duel screens. It can also mean you take longer to finish a task, if you finish it at all. So, how can you turn off that desire to do a million things at once?
Use a Timer
I set a timer for 30 minutes or an hour when I want to work on something. Until that timer finishes, I don’t do anything else. I may be tempted to work on something else, like check Instagram, but I resist.
Create a Schedule
Google calendar is my friend. I have alarms going off at all times of the day, reminding me to start certain tasks. It also helps that I can color code each item. I schedule tasks for certain days. When that reminder goes off, I set my timer and work on that task until the timer stops.
Silence Your Device
It feels kind of weird to turn off your phone, that’s why I didn’t say that. Instead, just put your device on silence and ignore it until you take a break.
Turn Off Desktop Notifications
Several times a day, I get some block across my screen about a new email or Twitter update…or Facebook post. Those notifications are useful but they’re also distracting. When you need to finish something, temporarily turn off those notifications.
This may not work for all tasks since you probably need your computer or the internet to complete your project. If you can, go old school and break out that pen and paper to work. This is also a good way to relax your eyes if you’ve been staring at a screen for hours.
Listen to Music
Amazing how some background music helps you focused on one task. It’s kind of energizing, especially if it songs you really enjoy. Try it. Just remember, only plug in one ear. You want to hear people when they’re talking to you.