ONE TASK AT A TIME
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
Recently, I’ve been noticing more and more articles on the power of doing one thing at a time versus multitasking.
Multitasking was all of the craze in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The theory was that the more tasks you could do at the same time, the more productive you would be. New technology only spurred on our quest and ability to do even more.
Today, multitasking has evolved into what’s now been coined “busyness”. But studies are showing that most people who multitask are in fact busy, but not very productive. In fact, our brains actually can’t multitask, it can only focus on one thing at a time. So, forcing it to switch from one task to another, actually slows you down, reduces your efficiency and performance and weakens your attention span.
That’s why so many of us feel busy, overwhelmed and mentally fatigued but don’t seem to be getting enough done. I’ve found time-blocking is a great way to work with the way our brains naturally operate. The premise is fairly simple. Got a project or task to complete? Block off time in your calendar to work on that task. For instance, block out 1 hour each morning to answer emails. During this time, you do nothing else but answer emails. Sounds too easy to be true, but it works!
In the past, I would start my day answering emails while answering the phone, opening mail, getting updates from employees, etc. By the end of the day, I had only answered a handful of emails. By blocking 1 hour each morning, all of the most important emails get answered every day.
It will take a little experimenting to find the best time of day to block off times for different tasks. But believe me, running your business one task at a time will keep you more productive, but most importantly, sane!
Until next time,
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