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Today is Single Tasking Day! And, most likely you almost missed it because you were too busy multi-tasking.  The idea of hyper-focusing on one task can seem foreign when we live in a world where you can receive different information from your phone, computer, tablet and watch all at the same time. And if we’re honest, sometimes the workplace can be especially challenging where every email is urgent and every task begs immediacy; we do not always remember the most effective mode of operation: doing one thing at a time!

Single Tasking is about more than just doing one thing until completion, it is about attacking each task with thoroughness and attention to detail; breaking it down into pieces and tackling one at a time.  Very little of what we do at work only has one component, and single-tasking makes us more mindful of each parts’ importance.  The benefits of this process are not just having a job well done, but a feeling of living in the moment (translation: put down your phone more often) and a reduction in stress.  While this Thursday might’ve prompted the conversation, start with these simple tips and you can make any day ‘Single Tasking Day’.

  • Seriously – Your Phone: We all sleep with our tech in arm’s reach, not just because it is probably our alarm, but we like to know what is up in the world before we even get up.  Try putting your phone across the room before bed: it might help you focus more on sleeping at nighttime, and if you start the day with a stretch and a deep breath instead of checking email, you will likely feel more relaxed right from the start.
  • Try One Big Change: Distractions are plentiful and our exposure to them is constant, be it in our commute, our downtime in the morning we tend to have something in the background or in our hands that takes away from the task at hand. Spend one week really letting go of that podcast while driving and pay more attention to driving.  The more we let go of distractions during small tasks the more you can streamline your focus in general.
  • Schedule Time for that Big One: You have that huge project to complete and instead fill your time with smaller tasks that could wait – but just because you are still getting work done does not mean it is not procrastinating. Set a time each day you will focus solely on that project whether your creative juices are flowing or not, the workflow will feel better and your brain will adjust to it if you do it daily.
  • Keep at it! The world will never stop demanding your attention so the best way to succeed at single-tasking is to keep trying every day. Try integrating it into your daily routine one way, and keep adding more of the method once you succeed at each level.  The more you do it the better you will get!

Remember, our minds are programmed to think of just one thing at a time, so whether it’s this Thursday or just a random day, give your brain a break and focus on single-tasking.  You might be surprised at how much more you accomplish, and how much better you feel as a result.  We also tend to emulate the behavior we see around us, so do your co-workers a favor and set a good example by single-tasking, you never know how much of your whole team’s success could stem from keeping it simple.

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