Are you a good multitasker?
According to an article from Attitude Magazine, research shows that doing two things at once takes about 50 percent longer than doing them sequentially.
The exception to this rule is people with ADHD.
- Some can actually focus better if they do something, essentially mindless, while tackling an important task.
- A mindless task could be playing with a fidget toy while you are in a meeting or listening to a lecture, knitting while watching TV, or doodling while talking on the phone.
Where it doesn’t work is when you're going back and forth between important projects.
I call it the "zig zag trap".
The zig zag trap fools you into thinking that you're getting work done, and maybe you are but what's frustrating is you can't always see your progress. This is because you get lost between the projects and forget what's already been and what's next.
When you have several projects to work on, we want to avoid zig zagging.
What's important is to learn how to transition from task to task.
There's a fine balance between hyper-focusing too much on one project and leaving the other one behind.
Here are a few ideas on how finding that balance:
Plan Your Week
- Look ahead, plan time to work on each important project
- Block the time out on your calendar.
- Treat this like any other appointment and do not schedule anything else during the time unless it’s an emergency.
- The projects will compete for your time, when you block time, you are guaranteeing that each project will get your attention.
- The key to success is sticking to the plan!
- Alarms are very useful when it comes to transitions.
- If you plan on working on a project for one hour, set an alarm at 15 minutes, to notify you that you are coming to the end of the time.
- Set another alarm at 5 minutes 'till the hour to notify you to close down what you are doing, and another alarm at the top of the hour to tell you to stop working.
- If you fear an alarm is not good enough, enlist an accountability partner to notify you when it's time to transition.
- It's much more difficult to say "no" to a person than to an alarm.
Build in Buffer Time
- Before you move on to your next project or appointment, build in some buffer time.
- Instead of ending the meeting right at the top of the hour, end it at 15 minutes to the hour.
- I have clients who found their meetings to be more effective and they had less daily stress.
- Buffer time allows for distractions and for the unexpected to happen.
Thank you for your time and attention..