Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Thing at a Time

I have always considered myself the queen of multitasking. I can't simply watch a movie, I have to knit, work on a scrapbook, or work while watching a movie. I am constantly doing 30 different things at one time. Lately, I have realized how completely non-productive that is.

I started to notice it while I was reading a book about organization (I can't remember which one now, but they all seem to say the same thing about multitasking). The theme reoccured while I was readingNo Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracey.

The last couple of weeks I have been trying to monitor my work habits. I noticed that when I have multiple browsers, tabs and documents open, I am very slow. When I simply focus on a single task, I complete more work in a shorter amount of time. It seems so obvious, but I have always thought that by moving between tasks quickly, I was more productive and faster.

My illness of the last few days has really drove the "multitasking doesn't work" message home. When you can't think to begin with, trying to think about 10 things at once almost kills you. So, today when I woke up, I decided to tackle one item at a time.

While I was drinking my coffee, I decided what was the most important tasks for today. Then I looked at my schedule for today. I already knew that the kids were going to daycare late and that Steve has a therapy appointment this afternoon. So, I planned my day around him.

Surprisingly, I already have most of my household chores checked off for today. I even switched the kids seasonal clothes around. That was something that was on my to do list for this weekend. Now, I can focus on working during my work time.

Another thing I started today is writing down ideas and tasks that pop into my head at random times. I read somewhere (again, I don't remember where) that instead of acting on an item, you should write it down as soon as it pops into your head. When you write things down, you spend less time thinking about it and it takes up less "head room".

I'm hoping this new plan keeps me organized and more productive. How do you handle your tasks during a given day? Are you a "one thing at a time " person or a multitasker?

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