Have you ever read the book The One Thing by Gary Keller?
It’s one of my favorites, and after reading it multiple times, I was reviewing my highlighted notes to see how I can implement what I’ve learned, and I realized something I can really focus on is ditching multitasking.
See, I talk a lot about thought leadership here — what it means, why it’s an important use of your time, etc.
But one thing I think we need to discuss is what becoming a thought leader requires of us. And one of those KEY requirements if you want to display your leadership through thought-provoking content? The ability to manage your OWN brain. You have to learn to command your own thoughts if you want to influence the thoughts and beliefs of others.
One way I’ve learned to do that is by strengthening my productivity skills by ending all multitasking. I’m sharing 3 tips you can use to quit multitasking and focus your energy on thoughts and actions that move you towards your goals, instead.
The OBVIOUS Case Against Multitasking
I think at this point, we all KNOW that multitasking isn’t a thing, right?
If you use a computer for your job, you’re opening email, different platforms, and switching windows at least 37 TIMES per HOUR.
In the midst of all of that, our brains are not capable of multitasking.
In fact, “According to a study at the University of Sussex, constant multitasking actually damages your brain. They found out that people who regularly multi-tasking have lower brain density in the region of their brain responsible for empathy, cognitive control, and emotional control.” (Coschedule)
ower capacity for empathy, cognitive control, and emotional control? Aren’t those THE things every leader wants to be proficient in?
In a marketplace where our brains are increasingly becoming our value, the act of literally fracturing your brain’s function and efficiency is only going to take you in the wrong direction. Or worse, you might stay stuck exactly where you are.
The good news is, this is fairly SIMPLE to fix.
The solution? Essentially to focus on one task at a time. Again, if you want a deep dive on this, read The One Thing.
I know it may not be easy, because it involves breaking habits. But, if you know the steps to take so you can quit multitasking on a daily basis, you’ll be that much closer than you were yesterday.
3 Tips to Quit Multitasking (and stake your claim on daily productivity and progress again)
STEP 1: Write out all you need to accomplish today
Do this BEFORE you open your email or your laptop if you can. The goal is to get everything that’s already in your brain OUT and on paper so you can free up some space and processing ability. Make sure this process is just brain dumping. You’re not going to think through prioritizing tasks or HOW anything should get done. You’re just moving tasks from the space in your brain to living on paper.
STEP 2: Plan out when you’re going to get those things done on your calendar
I don’t mean just plan this in your brain, either! Go to your google calendar, apple calendar app, or Microsoft teams calendar and ACTUALLY ADD IN these tasks as time blocks. Pick the time during the day when you’ll get it done and roughly how long it will take. I plan things on my calendar week-by-week so I can maximize my time doing the same task at once.
Pro tip: If other people see your calendar and you don’t want to confuse them, you can create a separate time-blocking calendar that’s not public. OR if you want your team to see your schedule/time-blocking, you can make sure it doesn’t block out your availability for calls or meetings needing to be scheduled — unless you want it to!
STEP 3: Clear your desk and desktop completely
Have you ever gone on an organizing + cleaning binge in your house? I think this is a universal human experience. When your space is full, cluttered, with things out of place, your MIND feels that way, too. But when you take the time to CLEAR THINGS, you can finally sit down and take a deep sigh of relief. Your brain finally feels clear, too.
Try taking this approach with your physical desk, and even your computer desktop if possible. Clear things out. This is not for some strategic reason, but simply to signify that “everything has its place” not only in your physical space, but also when it comes to your time and tasks that need to get done. Feeling RELIEVED rather than OVERWHELMED and buried beneath an insurmountable heap of tasks at the start of your work week is one of the ultimate productivity hacks, in my personal experience!
As always, I’d love to connect with YOU on LinkedIn, so feel free to hop over there and send me a connection message. How do YOU stay productive and focused as a leader? Do you have any tried-and-true, anti-multitasking tactics to share?