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Ah, multitasking! The theory that the more tasks you undertake during the day, the more productive you’ll be. While the idea may have merit – who doesn’t want to make the most of their day – the reality is far from ideal.
Multitasking can mean working on multiple projects at your desk or looking at multiple windows or platforms on your smartphone. Researchers have proven that multitasking doesn’t work and is actually detrimental to your mental wellbeing. When you’re multitasking, you’re not devoting your full concentration to any one task or goal. Instead, your brain is scattered in a million directions, often confused over what the next steps are to reach completion. Very often, these projects remain unfinished at the end of the day. This can sometimes lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression.
Whether you’re working on a client project or keeping your office space clutter-free, if you stay focused on the task at hand, you’ll work more quickly. This could mean possibly doubling your productivity on any given day, simply by focusing on one task at a time.
When Multitasking and the Need for Organizing Collide
Take a look around your office space. Is it cluttered or clear? If your desk is free of cluttered distractions, I’m jealous! If your office isn’t a throw-all room for the family, kudos to you! For many entrepreneurs, we are SO ultra-focused on work tasks that organizing our space takes a back seat, until piles of paper start to fall over or until you’re looking for that important tax document that you meant to file months ago but forgot about.
Some people recommend multitasking the cleaning of your office while you’re taking a break from client work. While that certainly sounds reasonable, do you really think you’ll get that office clean if it doesn’t rank higher on your to-do list? If you’re just clearing out garbage in 5-minute increments, how many days or weeks until you finish that task?
Instead of grabbing 5-minutes here and there, incorporate time blocking in larger intervals into your regular routine. Block off an entire morning to devote to clearing out your office; keep your computer off, turn your phone ringer to silent, and focus 100% on decluttering that office. You’ll be able to concentrate on solutions to your clutter problems instead of being interrupted 12 times by various clients. Keeping your computer and phone off keeps the social media distractions at bay. Even better, move your laptop and phone to another room so you’re not tempted to check in.
Eliminate your multitasking tendencies even more by concentrating on one tabletop or one single corner of your office instead of looking at the whole picture. Don’t think about the other 10 piles of paper; focus on that singular corner until it’s sparkling clean and clutter-free.
Turn Your Need to Organize into a Game
If you need even more incentive to stay focused, grab a kitchen timer or set a timer on your phone, and work as quickly as possible before the timer goes off. Set it for any amount of time you choose and then get to work. This idea is also known as the Pomodoro method, where you set a timer for 25 minutes, stay focused on your task until the timer goes off, then you take a 5-minute break before resetting the timer. Many people use this method when working on the computer, but it certainly works when doing physical work, too.
One other solution is to hire a professional organizer who will do the work for you as well as think of unique solutions to contain your clutter. Delegate the work to the organizer and you can focus on your business tasks. It’s the best of both worlds: You’re still focused, and your office still gets organized.
Loving Life — The Reboot!