I’m addicted to multi-tasking. ADDICTED. I love that feeling of being queen of the world. Being in control of a bunch of different things at once and getting things done quickly and efficiently. Productivity, baby.
I started hearing people talk about single tasking and was intrigued, then later seduced, by the luxury of only working on one thing at a time. Only focusing on one thing and being able to think about it in-depth? Sounds relaxing!
Last week I was slicing zucchini and dreaming about the inspiring theatre performances I was about to see, and guess what happened? I cut open my hand. Every time I stub my toe, drop something, or am otherwise bumbling, it’s for one of two reasons – either I’m tired or I’m not paying attention.
The time I can waste while multi-tasking kills me. Think of it like an old television turning on or starting a car in cool weather. It can take a few seconds (or a few minutes) every time you start it up. And that’s not even taking into account having to find the remote or the car keys every time. But what if you were only starting it once in a day instead of six times?
I still multi-task. I run a studio and, at least for right now, it’s the only way. I get my best work done in the morning, so on days I’m not photographing I block off the first 3-4 hours for some solid, focused, single tasking.
It’s definitely not easy to stay focused on my one single task at a time, but here’s my three biggest tips and tools to stay on track.
3 Tips and Tools for Single Tasking
1 – Waste No Time // I’ve installed the WasteNoTime browser extension into Safari and I’ve blocked myself from being able to use Facebook during certain times of the day.
I can’t believe it’s come to this.
Clearly I have no self-control.
But a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do. And now that I’m thinking about it there’s a few other sites I should block too like my website stats page, Instagram (thank goodness I can’t view Instagram Stories in Safari), and Pinterest…
2 – Turn Off All Notifications // I close my email, social media, and turn off all notifications on my MacBook and iPhone. I actually keep my phone face down so I can’t even see if anything comes in, and only answer it if it’s Darren’s ringtone.
3 – Tiger Time // Listening to Amy Porterfield’s podcast episode How to Create Content Rituals to Get More Done is really what helped me to formalize my single tasking time. It’s a little over a half hour but she gives a few tips (and a downloadable worksheet!) for how to create a more focused work environment, even if you’re not creating content. Now I plan in advance what I’lll be working on, make sure to tidy my desk to free myself of distractions, and get a glass of water so I don’t need to interrupt my focus. Plus I keep my bullet journal next to me so if my mind does wander to something else, I can write it down and deal with it later.
Bonus Tip – I give myself grace. // I schedule a five minute break every hour to get more water, stretch my legs, and rethink what I’m working on. It gives me a few minutes to step back and make sure I’m still on track. And if I’ve fallen back into my multi-tasking ways, this is a great time to reset and start the next hour fresh.
I really find single tasking to be soooo much more rewarding and gentle than constantly switching gears. I hope you do too.