Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / JUL. 10, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How NOT to Multitask at Work and Become Even More Productive

It’s the same old morning at work. The worst nightmare: It’s a Monday morning. You look around and see your colleagues sharing how amazing their weekend had been. They are all energized to face the day because they know what helps them get through their workday, i.e. their own work strategy! No, it’s not multitasking. It actually is “FOCUS!”

Multitasking leads to 40% decrease in employee’s performance, according to the Harvard Business Review. Simply put, multitasking often results in mental stress, leading to errors. Furthermore, research reveals that switching tasks repeatedly can waste 20% to 40% of your time, according to Mind Tools.

So, successful people don’t multitask. Why should you then?!

It’s time to revitalize your work life by adapting some unique work strategies that will not only help you avoid multitasking, but will also enable you to stay happy and more productive at work:

Spot your multitasking tendency

Sometimes we often tend to multitask unintentionally (yes, without even knowing that we are multitasking!). An ideal way to handle this is to identify when exactly you are doing two to three tasks simultaneously. For instance, you are multitasking when:

  • You have opened several tabs or pages on your computer.
  • You are working on a project you are not interested in, and simultaneously, you are conducting research on a new project just because you don’t want to get bored of your first project.
  • You are experiencing frequent interruptions because one of your colleagues has something important to tell you about the recent office gossip!

Now that you know what is stopping you from staying focused, you can concentrate better on one task at a time.

Make the most of your mornings: Get a notepad

This capture tool should specifically be available for your top-priority tasks and nothing else. Use one page per day. Each page should have the heading, “Most Important Task.” Now, write down the details of this task immediately and start off with the task. Make sure that you stick to this task till it is completed!

Once you are done with this one, take a short break. Come back, and start off with the second “Most Important Task.” Making it a morning routine will help you get two to three of the most important tasks done in the morning. Now, you have the entire day left for other less important tasks. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of your workday.

Do NOT listen to your heart for just 30 minutes

Text messages, emails, and phone calls will never let you focus even on your most urgent project. You might feel the urge to check your phone repeatedly. But here’s a simple technique: Shut it off, at least for 30 minutes. Follow this tip, and you will be surprised to see how much work you managed to complete within half an hour!

At times of interruptions, it’s okay to go with the flow

“What if I am in the middle of a project and my boss calls me for an unplanned meeting?” Though many of us have such concerns when it comes to getting the work done on time, this urgent interruption is a challenge for all employees. In this case, update the “Most Important Task” page of your notepad by writing down where you left. Go for the meeting. Come back, look at the last note you wrote, and resume your work. This way, you will be continuing your work without getting the feeling of being lost at work.

Realise: You are doing a great job!

At the end of the day, go through the list of tasks you have completed and feel good about yourself. Practice focusing more while enjoying your job at the same time. Believe it: Work without multitasking is a blessing!


Photo Credit: Workplace Psychology 

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