I remember when I worked for an employee in the late ’80s/early ’90s and the newest craze was “multi-tasking”. Everyone was doing it. No longer was a person responsible for a particular job; instead, each employee was being trained in all jobs classified at the same level. You would do 3 months in one job then everyone rotated and would spend the next 3 months in another job. This was so we could learn the benefits and joys of “multi-tasking”. I hated it.
We would also pride ourselves on being able to work on several projects at one time.
Gone are those days. Well, in my office at least. Sure, I can still cook dinner while ironing clothes and replying to emails or returning phone calls… even with a toddler on my hip. But generally speaking, I’ve learnt the importance of focusing on one task/project at a time. By focusing 100% on the article I’m writing (or whatever task it is), that is the only thing that gets my attention. No checking emails whenever I hear the ‘ping’ of a new message arriving; no getting sidetracked on the net while researching; just 100% focus on the job at hand.
Similarly, when I am taking time off for family/personal reasons, I’m 100% focused on relaxing or playing games or whatever, not going off to my computer every couple of hours.
This isn’t always possible to do – sometimes you need to stop what you’re doing to deal with an urgent matter – but this focused attention is what really works for me.
If you are a multi-tasker, try to change that, even just for a trial period. You may be surprised by how well the “focused-tasking” works.