How to Finish What You Start

How to Finish What You Start

So you’re proud to be a multi-tasker, are you? Being an entrepreneur can be an overwhelming occupation and multi-tasking seems to be the solution, at least in our minds.  We all have product development, marketing, networking, website maintenance, bookkeeping, staff recruitment and management, email, banking, customer service, sales calls to manage. Well, the list doesn’t really end, does it?  But…

…we are just fooling ourselves.  There is plenty of research now that confirms the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of multi-tasking.  It simply makes us less productive.  Multi-tasking is a myth anyway.  We aren’t really doing multiple tasks at the same time.  Instead, we are rapidly shifting from one task to another, which costs us energy and time.  The better solution is to fully complete a task before starting a new one.  Here are a few tips on how you can improve your ability to do that.

Practice mindfulness.  Mindfulness is about staying in the moment, focussing on the task at hand.  When your mind starts to wander, you can practice gently bringing it back to the task at hand.  Initially, practicing mindfulness for 20 minutes at a time will provide a good base for improving productivity.  And with practice, two hours of focused concentration is not out of the question.  Honest.

Schedule productivity time.  When there is a project that needs to be completed, blocking out the time on the calendar helps considerably.  When you know you’ve booked the time for each task, you can absorb yourself fully in whatever you are working on right now without fear of missing something crucial at the end of the day.  And if you have set a specific amount of time to complete the task, you are bound to work more efficiently in order to meet the deadline.

Create a disruption-free zone.  Often, the easiest way to reduce distractions is to turn off your phone and email alerts.   It is very difficult, even for the most focussed person, to continually ignore the sound of a phone ringing or the bells that alert you to an email, text, or social media update.  Even turning off the phone for 20-30 minutes at a time will help anyone become much more productive. Whatever alarm you set for each task block you plan will be sufficient alert to turn the other items back on again when needed.

Instead of falling into the multi-tasking tar pit, resist, and become a serial focuser.  It’s a skill worth developing.

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