It is time to accept forgiveness for the fact that you didn’t finish your to-do list yesterday and today isn’t looking much better.
Each day we strive to be productive, to tick off the ever growing number of tasks on our list of responsibilities and for some of us; that seems like an exercise in failure. We just can’t seem to get it all done.
We multi-task, juggling home, work and family and yet there are always a few things that seem to fall by the way side. Well, I just read an article in the New York Times that says it is time for forgiveness.
We are human. Things are going to happen. Some days we may tick off everything on the list and then some, while other days we fall short. That is life. However, there are a few tricks to help you be more productive.
According to the article’s author Phyllis Korkki, we need to stop multi-tasking and turn our attention to just one task at a time. I know it seems easy to pop a load of laundry in before we start making phone calls or writing a report, but then how often do we forget to put that wet laundry in the dryer? How many times have you had to re-wash your clothes? Here are her tips on monotasking:
To the best of your ability, set up a work environment that encourages the performing of one task at a time. It’s probably not realistic to think that we can block off hours at a time for a single task, but even committing to monotask for five minutes can yield productivity benefits.
Here are a few small changes you can make:
Remove temptation: Actively resist the urge to check unrelated social media while you are working on a task. Some workers may need to go so far as to install anti-distraction programs like SelfControl, Freedom, StayFocused and Anti-Social, which block access to the most addictive parts of the internet for specified periods.
Work on just one screen: Put away your cellphone and turn off your second monitor.
Move: If you find yourself losing focus – reading the same sentence over and over or if your mind continually wanders off topic – get up and briefly walk around, Dr. Miller said. A brief walk around your office can lift your mood, reduce hunger and help you refocus.
Work in intervals: Set a timer for five or 10 minutes and commit to focusing on your assignment for that amount of time. Then allow yourself a minute of distraction, as long as you get back on your task for another five or 10 minutes.
Still think that multi tasking is the way to go? In Sarah Doody‘s article on productivity she shares information from Eyal Ophir, the primary researcher on the Stanford Multitasking Project who has this to say.
“Every task you do competes for your mental resources, even once you think it’s no longer relevant. The more you do, the more you increase this competition. So that momentary interruption is still fighting for some of your mental resources even when you’d like to focus back on your main task. The more competing tasks you take on, the more interference you must overcome to fully dedicate yourself to what’s really important. What may be worse is that over time you may be training yourself NOT to focus. You teach yourself that something more exciting might be just around the corner – behind that notification, or the app on your mobile phone, or the email you haven’t checked.”
So try mono-tasking for an hour – see if you are more productive and less stressed. When you fall back on your old ways, remember that forgiveness is yours – forgive yourself and start over. Along with mono-tasking, remember to delegate all that doesn’t require your personal attention. When you delegate, you free up your mind for work more inline with what interests you.
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