For years, businesses of all sizes have stressed the importance of multitasking and being able to complete several tasks at once. As a result, employees often feel like they are being pulled in numerous directions all at the same time, resulting in work not getting completed on schedule. When we divide our attention between emails, phone calls, instant messaging, and other work tasks, it can make it seem like nothing is ever going to get accomplished.
If you are tired of feeling like you are falling behind at work, then it might be time to give single tasking a try! With single tasking, you focus on one task at a time and complete it, start to finish, before moving on to the next task. While working on the single task, the goal is to eliminate all other distractions and only focus on the task at hand. In other words, everything else can wait.
Realistically, in most business environments, it can seem difficult to entirely shut out all other distractions to focus on one task at a time. Granted, there are times when you will have to stop one task to do something else, like attend a meeting or conduct an interview. However, the primary goal of single tasking is retraining yourself to focus on one thing at a time, rather than five, ten, or twenty.
Dividing your attention between multiple tasks increases the likelihood you will commit errors, not complete tasks correctly, and have to spend more time correcting your mistakes. Single tasking makes it easier to focus on one thing at a time, so your attention is firmly committed to that one task, reducing distractions, and allowing you to complete tasks correctly, the first time.
To implement single tasking, the first thing you need to do is create a list of your tasks and prioritize them in the order you want to complete them. While working on the tasks, do not move on to another task until the one you are presently working on is fully completed. In situations where you have to wait for a response from someone else to fully finish the task, do as much as you can before moving on to the next task. Then, move the unfinished task further down your list and revisit it later.
If you do not get everything accomplished, then simply move the unfinished tasks to your task list tomorrow, in the priority you want to complete them. By approaching tasks in this manner, you will discover you get more accomplished during the work day, compared to having numerous tasks only partially completed. In addition, you should notice a drop in work-related stress.
Encourage everyone at your workplace to mark their calendars for Single Tasking Day, taking place this year on February 21. If you are not working that day, then hold your own Single Tasking Day on February 22 instead to see the difference it can make.
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