If you operate a business, no doubt there are times when your plate is very full. Many entrepreneurs handle this by – and even pride themselves – in multitasking. It has been said by some however, that multitasking is just task-switching. After all, you really can’t be assisting a customer and doing your bookkeeping at the same time.
The truth is, that “multitasking” is not nearly as efficient as you may think it is. One study, conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that by switching tasks midway, it can actually increase the total time by up to 25%.[i]
So, if multitasking isn’t the answer what is? Here are a few tips to help you stop multitasking and truly become more productive.
Just Do It
This slogan doesn’t just work for Nike – it can work for you too. When you begin a task, see it through to completion rather than jumping around. If you are going through your emails, either answer them, forward them to someone else who can handle them, or decide if they are unimportant and delete them.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
The more tasks that you can delegate to someone else, the more focus you can put toward building your business. Certain jobs in your business can be transferred to your employees, partners or even third party suppliers, such as a call answering service.
Eat Your Frogs First
It’s a gross expression, but this is something that works well in business. Get the less enjoyable tasks out of the way. Then you can put your complete focus on more enjoyable tasks without feeling the dread of the tasks you’d rather avoid.
Resist the Tyranny of the Urgent
If you are not careful, it can be easy to allow urgent, yet not overly important issues take up your time. As a business owner, there are times when you will have to let go – or pass the issue to someone else in your organization in order to allow you to focus on more important matters.
Just Say No
Entrepreneurs by nature, are ambitious people. But if you take on every single challenge that comes your way, burn-out can follow close behind. This, in turn, can lead to less than ideal performance in the commitments that you already have.
When a new challenge arises, you need to ask yourself if it fits your overall mission and vision and whether you have the resources (time, money, and people) to handle it. If the answer is no, then no needs to be your answer as well.
Do Not Multitask!
The key to learning any new skill is repetition. If you have been accustomed to multitasking, you need to unlearn it by deliberately and repetitively not multitasking. Multitasking hurts productivity and leads to time wasted.
So, the next time that you feel tempted to multitask, remember that while it may feel efficient, the evidence suggests otherwise. Follow these tips to stop multitasking and boost your productivity.