Multitasking by definition is doing multiple tasks simultaneously. (Sigh) First of all, I am not one of those people who can switch multiple activities quickly. Because if you can, I so want to meet you in person!
I have always been struggling to be fast at everything. I easily switch or flick my mind very quickly and I’m guessing that Gemini trait is so strong in me. Of course, I am proud of myself when I able to get so many things done, but the truth is I feel inexplicably unfocused, panicky and tired! When that happens, my boss notices (well he sit next to me) and ask me to stop, drop everything that I am doing at that very moment, asked me to breathe and restart all over again. (I have shared about it in my previous post, here). But how many times I need to depend on another person to say that, right? (I’m super lucky to have a super patience boss_well maybe not all the time especially when he started rolling his eye balls 360 degree_I know I’ll die_lol!).
I learnt in a hard way that I don’t do completely perfect by being multitasking. It takes longer when I do things at once, I do more mistakes. Furthermore, I recently read an article that people who do multitasking are getting a short term memory (based on research). Oh My God, I can see the symptoms in me nowadays!
It is really stressful because a brain is not possible to be at more than one place at a time. When you force your brain to work for a lot of things at one time, it goes jam.
Even if I did list down my to-do tasks and put into priority order but I ended not getting things done. Where did my time go missing? It’s frustrating. It sucks! Hence, trying to do many things at once is stressful. Period.
“Why not you start blocking your time?”, my boss tells me.
Could it be true? Despite me being to thrive on the hamster wheel of multitasking, I really could accomplish more goals without doing so.
What I Did, Then?
I started to be mindful, this means I took my boss’s advice, started to do things at a time and savouring the moment, enjoying the task and gaining a sense of achievement of each job well done afterwards.
Number one obstacle is to stay focus and avoid distractions. It’s important to remove all distractions before working. Yup, we all know that but how? I have no issue with distracting myself away from social medias (Okay, maybe not). My issue is when I have already listed down my focus lists of the day, then I saw an email notification pop in (most of the time, the request can wait and not so urgent but looks more fun to focus at), there my mind bubble away from my focus.
What’s a Time Block?
It simply means when I manage to decide my main focuses of the day, what’s left is just to schedule my task. I set aside a specific block of time dedicated to a certain project or task_this is in my own definition, I call as time block.
Time block is productive (at least for me) as it helps me to knock out my daily goals because it keeps my head down to focus when I need it most. I used to plan to-do lists only for a day, but I tend to miss out important/ top priority things for the week. So what I did is, every Monday I will list down all tasks for the week and I break it down into daily to-dos. Then, it is much easier for me to do time block. Don’t over ambitious by blocking unrealistic length of time, trust me, be wise, as some tasks may need multiple hours to be completed, whereas some just need 30 minutes chunks. There’s no specific formula for this, it totally depends on your work nature and the tasks.
I consider the time block as a distraction-free zone. I minimise my email windows, and ignore the emails notification, put my phone away and of course try not switch tasks in a split second (I am working on this!). It wasn’t easy as I am always used to peek on my phone screen to see the notifications (even if I don’t immediately open it but it is just a habit to peek from the notification).
The Best Thing About Time Block
Times up, tadaaa! I’ve managed to get things settled (with a lesser typo and mistakes_at least for now) and I’m free to take a break before starting on my next tasks.
Since last 2 weeks, I keep track of how I have spent time on the tasks to focus on and I know which tasks I might need to reallocate time. Something done on a single task is better than nothing at all, else I will be scratching my head wondering where all my time went.
As a result, I am less worry (although still bite my lips anxiously when my boss call my name as he read my emails) and can spend an extra time to understand the content of tasks given by the team.
Most noteworthy, I could focus on that one thing for as long as possible.
It is a true self-satisfaction to be able to scratch off the last task of the day and peek over to-do list for next day.