Multi-tasking is Impossible
Multi-tasking is impossible.
There, I said it.
We all try, but have you ever actually succeeded? With our world becoming more and more connected, our attention is pulled in every possible direction, with social media insisting we scroll, with texts coming through expecting instant replies, with the expectation that emails will be tended to as soon as they arrive in our inbox, it’s hard to remain focused on a single task. We try so hard to spread ourselves across as many tasks as possible, that in the end none of these tasks get the attention they need to get done… So as a result, nothing gets done. Sound familiar? Of course it does, we all do it. Now don’t get me wrong, of course I can do my Instagram engagement while listening to podcasts and going for my morning walk, and something similar throughout the day. But when it comes to doing the quality, attention-sapping tasks, it takes some undivided, maximised focus to get it done to the standard we need it to.
So, what’s the alternative?
Let me introduce you to a little thing called batching. Batching is this idea of setting aside blocks of time to focus on ONE task. So, for example, you might set aside 9am-11am every Monday to write blog content. That’s all you’d do, and with no other tabs open, phone away, and full concentration on those blogs. You might write blogs for a number of different clients, which is so okay! But the point of batching is to get you in ‘the zone’, if you will, of one particular task, and do as much as you can of it, minimising the amount of distractions around you, because did you know that every time we become distracted, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus. Keep your focus by avoiding distractions...
Good concept, right? But with so much demanding your attention, how on earth do you do it?
Here’s some suggestions.
Block time out on your calendar.
Whether you’re the only person who looks at it, or you have a team of people who work from it, your calendar is often the one thing that drives your week. If you treat batching like an important client meeting, you’re more likely to stick to it. We live by our calendar, so if it’s on the calendar, it’s going to get done. No questions asked.
Know how long your attention span is.
This seems silly, and some people can work straight through it, but most of us can only remain laser focused for a certain amount of time. We work in 2 hour blocks, because we know that at the 1 hour 45 min mark, we start to get fidgety and it’s time to move on to another part of our day. Whether your ideal block is 1.5 hours or 3 hours, maximise it, and remember that no one is the same.
Know when you work the best.
When it comes to work that needs our undivided attention, we know that those hours before midday are when we’re going to get them done. However, we know plenty of people that can’t focus until after lunch, and others who become laser focused as soon as Bachie in Paradise is over at 9:30pm. Know yourself, and maximise on when you work the most effectively.
Use count-down tools to help you focus.
There’s so many tools, apps, and websites that will block certain pages and notifications coming through, which is particularly useful when you have the reputation for ‘just checking this instagram notification’ or ‘just checking on how this post went on Facebook’. Again, with some much aching for our attention, it’s hard to focus without things dinging and popping up all over your screens. We love apps like Forest, and website like Freedom and FocusMe to help silence those notifications we just can’t get enough of.
Have a list of things to do.
In order to utalise the time you’ve got, make a list of things to do in your block of time. Whether that be blog ideas, where to get your content from, campaign ideas, or budget trackers, make sure you have everything you need to be able to maximise your time. In saying that, be careful not to overload yourself. If you’re finding that you’re only getting 3 things done on your todo list, consider shortening your todo list. It’ll make you feel like you’ve actually completed your list, and leave you feeling less deflated when you don’t see another 10 tasks that you just didn’t get around to. Remember: Quality over quantity, always.
Take a break.
This is a MUST. Once your block of time is up, step away from the computer, go get a coffee, make lunch, move to another room in the house or another cafe, or schedule in a break with some colleagues. Do whatever you need to do to unwind, so your mind can relax a little before it has to focus again. Your mind can get fatigued just like your muscles can, so make sure you’re giving it the rest it deserves.
Batching is an awesome concept, and can help you get so much done! Let us know if you’ve ever tried it, and how it went :)