This morning I was enjoying my coffee, oblivious to the fact that my world was about to be flipped on its head. Waiting patiently in my inbox was an email with a simple yet provocative subject line: The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time. Wow…that sounds nice. I’d really like to do that. And just then, my Outlook alarm reminded me to begin seven tasks promptly at 8AM.
Naturally, I immediately thought about why I am not doing that. Yes, it’s a simple answer. Because I’m busy multitasking. For some strange yet compelling reason I – along with the majority of you – believe I can do everything all at the same time. Why do just one thing when I can do seven? I mean who does ONE thing at a time? HA! What is this, 1975?!
As difficult as it was, I calmed myself and took a moment to think about this idea. Who out there actually does one thing at a time? Successful people do. Why? Because it works. Multitasking lowers work quality and productivity for two key reasons: lack of focus and an inability to disengage from the workplace.
Technology has blurred our boundaries beyond recognition, allowing us to be constantly plugged in. We can now work all day, all night, from everywhere and never disengage. That’s a pretty scary thought. So how do we re-establish boundaries?
Try some of these behaviors:
- Tackle the most important projects first thing in the morning when your focus is strong
- Establish regular, scheduled time to think – long-term, creatively, and strategically
- Take real and regular vacations
And here’s one more simple behavior – do one thing at a time. Try it. You’ll be surprised by how effective it really is.