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Home Personal Development Single-Tasking: The Sane Alternative to Multitasking

Single-Tasking: The Sane Alternative to Multitasking

What do you do when you’re answering emails and suddenly the phone rings? Do you answer it and try to speak to the person while you finish your emails? Then the doorbell chimes. Do you go to the door while still on the phone? Now you have some decisions to make.
 
We live in a world where multitasking is commonplace. But is it the most efficient use of our time?
 
The Multitasking Myth
 
In South Africa as well as a number of states have already made it illegal to talk on your cell phone and drive at the same time. Some states in the US won’t even allow you to drive and eat at the same time! These laws are based on the fact that if your focus is divided, accidents are more likely to happen.
 
Recent studies have also shown that when people are forced to change gears in the middle of a task, valuable time is lost. The more complex the task, the more time is lost. The lost time is the time that’s usually spent by the frontal lobe of your brain making decisions and establishing priorities.
  • So when you multitask, rather than getting a lot more accomplished, you’ll find that the quality of your work diminishes significantly while important tasks actually take longer!
Single-Tasking: the Alternative
 
Just for argument’s sake, try spending one day where all you do is focus all your energy on one task at a time. You may be surprised to discover that you’re making significantly more progress than usual as you tackle one job at a time without interruption.
Without interruption? Perhaps you’re thinking, “That’s easier said than done.”
 
If so, here are some tips to help you gain the advantage of single-tasking:
 
1.  Create a to-do list. Have categories on the list for home, work, etc. Write the items on your list in order of priority.
  • Organizing your tasks will help you see everything you have to do and give you a definite place to start.
2.  Keep a notebook handy. If ideas for another task come while you’re working on something else, jot them down quickly so you can continue concentrating on your current project. You won’t have to worry about forgetting your ideas and thoughts later.
3.  Tune out distractions. If possible, turn off your phone or shut down your computer if they’re diverting you away from your present task.
  • If you feel the urge to check your email, simply take a deep breath and continue working. Don’t worry; your email’s not going anywhere! It will still be there in the same place when you finish your current task
4.  Plan your day in blocks of time. Depending on the number of tasks you have to do this can be in hour-long blocks, or just 20 minutes.
  • Make sure you leave some blocks open for unexpected situations that may arise.
5.  Every now and then, take inventory. When you’ve completed a task successfully and have a few minutes to spare, use that time to check your inbox for any new situations that may have come up.
  • You can then re-prioritize your to-do list if necessary.
The two most valuable courses you can follow to increase your focus is the
  • Wake Up Effective, Successful And Happy” course and
  • The Kaizen Personal Development Program (aka The Kaizen Challenge)
Single-tasking might take some time to get used to, especially if you’re accustomed to working on multiple projects at one time. However, focusing your efforts on a single task will help you think more clearly and determine what steps must be completed.
 
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas but these tips will help you get started with single-tasking. Multitasking can be very stressful. Wouldn’t it be nice to make your life a little less chaotic? Single-tasking can do a world of good for your emotional, mental, and even physical well-being. It’s the sane alternative to multitasking!

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Comments

avatar Leon
+5
 
 
This was exactly my problem, and when I did the Kaizen Wealth Personal Development I now know how to apply this principle successfully. I apply this principle to assist me to develop and create a business concept that I know will work.
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avatar Ross Bartholomew
+2
 
 
I have always prided myself in being able to do many things at once and still manage to get everything done. The problem comes when I just have too many things happening at once. Yes, busy with a website, the phone rings and it is a client with a problem on "their" website so I quickly switch over to their site and start fixing the problem, then I see an email has arrived that I have been waiting for and it gives me the info I have need to solve another problem, so I switch to that problem and start solving it and an sms comes through asking for a phone number of someone, then as I'm typing in the number I'm called to supper..... am I happy or not? I bet you can't even remember what I was doing when I started this comment. Eish but how do I not answer a telephone call? My cell has voicemail so that works expect that it means I now have to pay for the call! Too many descisions.

No, I know that this single tasking works and is the way to go. Make the list Hannes speaks of and on be sidetracked when it is really not possible to ignore. Also keep in mind that relationships are almost always more important that just getting some job done but how offent to be ignore or put off the relationship because we are "busy"?

Thanks for the reminder Hannes.
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avatar Rodney Ackermann
+1
 
 
I have a feeling that I am being totally unproductive due to 'chaotic multitasking' - or if you like 'trying to please everybody (at the same time)'.
I am taking Hannes' challenge seriously - The first item on my computer Notepad for tomorrow is to get myself a paper based pocket size note pad. Part of my plan is to be less computer focussed.
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avatar justino
+1
 
 
It's amazing what we think is the right way is normally what's holding us up,wasting our time.You so right emailing, phone rings,door bell rings,the dogs looking for love,hey what was i doing again and we think we good cause we can Multi-task,no more i'm really going to focus on one thing at a time get that done move on to the next project,the only problem for me is to stay focussed ,on track,cause something else always comes up then i leave the one task unfinished start a new,and wonder why i'm stagnated,thanks again Dr Hannes,i must say i feel a lot more confident now than i've ever been in many years.
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avatar Hantie
+1
 
 
I want to live my life in full this year and the only way to do it will be to focus on ONE TASK at a time. I am tired of my multi-tasking efforts in 2008 and the waste of energy and tempo that resulted from too many, too much, to be done at the same time, day in and day out! I am tired of multi-tasking, but will I succeed to live single-tasked? I am going to try!
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avatar Me
+1
 
 
Hannes, I just love the way you give simple, practical, and effective advice. Thanks so much. I look forward to trying this out, and the less stress I should suffer as a result.
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avatar Ashraf
+1
 
 
Hannes, i'm on holiday now at the sea just recharging my batteries after an energy consuming 2008. But I've been taking time out over the last two weeks or so just to read and assimilate the practical tips in your personal development material. In fact this year I will be much more focused by putting aside time slots on a weekly basis just to focus on all your useful learning material. No more lack of discipline and I'll be reverting back to the kaizen website on a regular basis to help me achieve my goals. My best wishes for you and your family as always. And looking forward to attending and participating in all your new courses this year... Yes, i'm eagerly awaiting the Internet one!
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avatar Stephan
+1
 
 
I, for some reason, always believed that it will take difficult and complicated methods to achieve success, but it is actually the SIMPLE (not necessarily easy) methods that gets the results and not only by actually DOING them, but by doing them CONTINUOUSLY.

Thank you Hannes for always teaching and inspiring us! And for breaking things down - making it simple and understandable!
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avatar Riaan
+1
 
 
Hallo Hannes.

Thank you for the simple and good advice. From now on I am going to keep a note book with me at all times and also make my list every morning.
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avatar stephan
0
 
 
done 070109
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