Becoming More Present With Single Tasking

Like most moms and entrepreneurs, I’m guilty of being a serial multi-tasker.  Which probably explains why I feel pretty stressed out most days.  It used to be multi-tasking – or managing multiple tasks at one time –  was deemed to be more efficient.

However, in my personal experience, I’ve found that when I have more than one thing going on at a time, I don’t do anything well.   I miss stuff – minor details and things, that normally, I would never have missed.

Even worse, when I’m multi-tasking, I’m not present in what I’m doing.  Although I may be physically at home when my son arrives from school, my mind is off wondering if I booked that journal entry or did I complete that task I forgot to put on my list?

Mother and Baby

Apparently, I’m not alone in feeling multi-tasking is not helpful.  Researcher Zhen Wang performed a study showing that even though you may feel more productive multitasking, your performance does not improve.

So, how am I combating my proclivity to multi-task, in order to get more productive?

Introducing….single tasking.

I remember in my operations class in grad school, learning how a business offering a single wait line is faster and more efficient than having multiple waiting lines.  The same principle applies to single tasking.  When you tackle a single task at a time, you can dedicate focused attention to complete that task more efficiently and productively.  This means – no checking emails, social media, or having the tv on when you’re tackling your task list!

Aside from improved productivity, another benefit of single tasking is that it allows you to be more fully present in each moment.

So how do you ‘single task’ your life?  Basically it comes down to planning and setting aside time to focus on one task at a time and eliminating distractions, particularly from your cellphone.

Planning and Scheduling Your Tasks
One At A Time

These types of scheduling and planning activities can be easily accomplished with the Ignited Life Planner‘s weekly calendar layout.

  • Planning your tasks for each day the night or weekend before;
  • Scheduling your chores on designated days or times of the week;
  • Executing each task…one at a time!

Eliminating Distractions

Laura Rose Kensil’s blog provides some great tips on how to ‘single task’ your life.  A majority of her tips, not surprisingly, come down to eliminating distractions, particularly from your cellphone, such as:

  • Turning off your notifications on your phone;
  • Setting your phone on silent mode during certain times of the day;
  • Removing unnecessary or unused apps on your phone;
  • Determining set periods or times of the day that are “technology free” (e.g. family dinner, etc.);
  • Only checking and responding to email and social media at designated times of the day.

So, I challenge each of you to try single tasking for a day – make a concerted effort to just do one task at a time.  You may be surprised with how much you’ve accomplished and feel at the end of the day!

Sources:

Leo Widrich’s blog article “What Multi Tasking Does To Our Brains

Laura Rose Kensil’s blog article “25 Ways To Simplify Your Life With Single Tasking

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