I used to think I was a great multitasker. But then I learned that it’s impossible to multitask. It’s possible to juggle a lot of projects at the same time but not to multitask. If you multitask you never really focus on the task at hand so your attention is scattered. It can be very dangerous too — how many times have you been driving and then realize you don’t even know how you got to your destination because your mind was elsewhere. Being mindful of what you’re currently doing will help you accomplish more.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Just Say It: Sometimes when I have a hard time getting started I will repeat in my head over and over the task that I want to accomplish. “Write tomorrow’s blog, write tomorrow’s blog, write tomorrow’s blog.” By doing this – I stop and listen to myself and actually start the project I want to do. It’s like you’re clearing out all the other noise and reminding yourself what needs to get done. You need to train yourself to focus.
2. One Thing at a Time: Paying attention to each task you do will make you more efficient. Instead of bouncing around from one thing to another – finish what you’re doing first.
I recently produced an interview with Rep. Tim Ryan about his book “A Mindful Nation,” which is all about mindfulness and being more aware of your surroundings. He told a story about UCLA coach John Wooden whose first lesson to his players would be how to put on their socks. He did this so they paid close attention to the act of putting on their socks before each game – that way they would avoid getting blisters. It’s the simple things that are the most important.
3. Reward Yourself: It’s OK to bribe yourself every now and then. ☺ Sometimes all you need to do is “talk yourself into” doing one task. For instance – if you finish cleaning out the garage you can get a manicure or massage for your hard work.
4. Make Time for Yourself: Be sure to schedule “me” time on your to-do list. This could be watching your favorite show or listening to music. But by putting yourself on your to-do list and not worrying about any other task during that time – you will be much happier and productive.