It is commonly thought that multitasking helps us get more things accomplished in a shorter amount of time. In actuality, the opposite is true. Read on to find out why trying to juggle multiple tasks at once decreases our productivity.

Society has adopted a, do it now and do it fast type of attitude. With technology affording us the ability to communicate with anyone at any time, people believe that emails should be responded to the minute they are received. However, trying to immediately respond to all the information that is thrown at us is actually causing us to lose focus in all areas of our life.

When focus is lost, individuals can experience a sense of chaos which leads to stress. Work flow declines and productivity is negatively impacted. By focusing on one task at a time, you can regain a sense of control and begin to change the mindset of having to “do it all at once”. In our last article, we discussed the advantages of making lists, this article will examine strategies that help complete one task at a time.

Allow Yourself to Take Regular Breaks – Have you ever experienced a sense of “burn out” when working on a large project? This is your brain’s way of telling you it’s had enough.  After working on a project for an extended period of time, our brain becomes anesthetized to the stimulation and no longer treats the work as significant. By taking small breaks, it gives your brain a chance to renew and allows you to give your task the attention it needs.

Remove Distractions – Each time you become distracted while working, time is lost due to having to regain your train of thought and figuring out where you left off. One way to avoid being distracted is place yourself in an environment where people know not to interrupt, such as a conference room or office with the door closed. This strategy will not work, however, if you keep your cell phone with you or have your email opened. The constant email notifications or alerts from your phone are as much as a disturbance as people can be. Be sure to silence your phone and only check your email during preplanned times.

The most efficient way to work is by completing one project at a time. If you are the type of person who bounces from one task to the next, try to break things down by hour, focusing your attention on one thing during that time. You will be amazed how much more productive you will become and how much easier your goals are to achieve.