You may think you can do everything right now, but you can’t. You shouldn’t! Let’s talk about how to maximize time with monotasking.
Research has made it clear: we shouldn’t be doing many things at one time. A popular study from Stanford University found that people who multitask are actually less productive.
Instead of multitasking, you should focus on monotasking- focusing on only one thing at a time. It not only cuts down on careless mistakes, but can help unleash your creativity and production since you can give more energy and attention to the task at hand.
How can you break the habit of multitasking? Much of it revolves around better time management and blocking distractions. I’ve found the following 8 strategies have helped me embrace more monotasking and keep me mindful of focusing only on the work I’m doing at any moment.
1. List your top 3 priorities for the day.
I was inspired by a past guest on how I do this- use a Post-It to write three items that you have to get done that day.
Just 3. You literally can’t fit any more than that on the Post-it, so it’s genius!
Here’s the full episode if you’re really inspired by her system:
If I find myself with extra time, I can always go to my pen and paper planner and cross out tasks as I complete them.
This is my stance on pen and paper: it’s not crowded. Your phone is.
I love apps as much as the next girl but my phone is a crowded space. If you feel overwhelmed by yours, consider pen and paper for your priorities- maybe that’s in fitness, maybe work, maybe both.
2. Block time on your calendar.
Now, you’ll create defined times during the day to complete the 3 priorities on your post it. I have time blocked on my calendar to get these things done in a power half hour. The important part about blocking time is respecting it.
Do not compromise that time block by meeting with someone else who is begging for your time. It needs to be sacred to you.
3. Block social media distractions
I typically turn off notifications on my computer so that I don’t get distracted during my power half hour for the ZYIA side of my business, where I literally only have 30 minutes a day to be at a laptop. Everything else is done from my phone.
For me, responding to and scrolling on social is better done at a different time. For example, on the treadmill in the mornings where I have plenty of time to engage. Not everyone can read or type and run at the same time, but I can and I find this time to be great for things like that.
Technically, it’s multi tasking but in terms of my brain function I’m still on a single task- socializing online, which IS my ZYIA business.
4. Batch work
Full disclosure: I’m not a big believer in batching 100% of your work if you have a side business.
This really came to light for me in episode 34 where I spoke with Caroline Campbell, who has made her own career as a reseller on Poshmark.
She discussed how batching all of her work as a part time reseller could put her weeks behind if for some reason she had to skip a day. In other words, batching everything is not the greatest idea.
I’ve found it helpful to batch certain areas of my work. For example, recording podcasts. I try to schedule interviews with guests back to back so I can arrange childcare and be “in the zone” for the interviews.
If someone cancels- and they do, cause life happens. I’ll use that extra time to stay in the podcast zone and record intros, outtros, and create show notes or do audio editing.
5. Stop responding to messages so quickly
Tim Ferris has talked about training your network in the book 4 Hour Work Week. He put it like this: if you always respond to email within 5 minutes of receiving it, that will be the expectation of others.
If you were to message my Facebook business page right now, you’d get an away message that says:
Hi, thanks for contacting me. I’m juggling 4 kids but will connect with you during my business hours (“pockets” throughout the day!). Make it a great day!
Just because someone reaches out to you doesn’t require you to respond immediately!
I hope this has helped you with monotasking in some way or at least made you think about your schedule as it stands. Are you wasting time by trying to do too much?