Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Today’s business professionals are expected to wear more hats than years before, pushing themselves to get more done in less time, and that can make it appealing to multi-task. Unfortunately, in reality, multi-tasking has the opposite effect on one’s productivity, minimizing outputs and increasing stress. It’s a lose-lose situation!
Instead, let us take time to celebrate today’s Single Tasking Day.
While projects are a conglomeration of different tasks, if you break projects down into individual tasks and create a list of what tasks need to be done, you can work your way down the list, one by one by one. Start each task with a verb that drives action, assign a “when” for each “what” to be accomplished and set a timer for how long you can block out distractions to focus your efforts on each of those tasks.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not discounting the value of simul-tasking, but that is very different from multi-tasking. Whereas multi-tasking involves bouncing between two tasks that require thought and focus, simul-tasking involves pairing any activity that requires thought (like reading your daily feed of blog posts) with an activity that can be done mostly automatically (like walking on a treadmill). Simul-tasking can help mark two things off your to-do list at once; however, it does require just the right pairing of activities, and it’s not always possible to find tasks that can be done without thinking.
As you are working on single tasking, consider the interruptions you face in a typical workday, whether that’s emails, calls, texts, folks stopping by your office, pings or dings of notifications and more. If you are accustomed to responding immediately to each of those emails, calls, texts, visitors and notifications, consider this: Those folks reaching out to you don’t know if you are sitting at your desk or in a meeting; if you block off a bit of time to really focus on the task at hand and respond to those needing your attention once you are done, those folks will assume you’ve been in a meeting, you get more accomplished in less time and you no longer have that task hanging over your head as an item you must do.
Take action and attempt single tasking this week. Then, let me know how it works for you. I’d love to hear your successes or what you found most challenging about it!
Monday, February 9, 2015
Our technological devices are being manufactured with a growing capacity for storage; further, online file repositories are offering more and more storage space for free or really low pricing. For example, by referring your friends to Dropbox, you can get up to 18 GB of free storage space; alternatively, for just $99/year, you can get an incredible 1 TB of storage space... Wow! Options like those make it all too easy to keep an excess of electronic documents, making the situation such that most folks have to dig through a great deal of clutter to quickly find what's needed.
Take steps now to combat electronic clutter:
- Review your files and programs for what is still accurate, applicable, useful or bringing you joy.
- Get rid of what doesn't fit that criteria; delete junk files, duplicate files, temporary files and cookies.
- Then, group like with like for what remains. Be sure the placement of your remaining files and programs will make sense to you when you are looking for something.
- Particularly for PC users, make sure you have your computer set-up to automatically run maintenance actions, like a disk cleanup and disk defragmentation.
Originally sponsored by the Institute for Business Technology back in 2000, this National Clean Out Your Computer Day is an excellent time to show your computer a little TLC.
What steps will you take now to clean out your computer?