I see you. Juggling a million things at once, Ms. Multitasking Maven. Stop for a moment to count how many tabs are open on your browser. Does your workday resemble a game of ping pong as you bounce back and forth between tasks?
What if I told you that all your bouncing and multitasking are dangerous to your business? You are doing serious damage to your productivity. And as the entrepreneur in charge, you’ve got to be as productive and efficient as possible! When we multitask, we are about 40% less productive. What would you do about an employee with 40% less productivity than the rest of the team? Not only that, but research also shows we make twice as many errors while multitasking.
I know what you are thinking: Yea, but I’m really good at multitasking. No, sis, you aren’t. I’m telling you this because I care. Science shows that even those of us who think we are better at multitasking than most (which is about 70% of us) just simply aren’t. We are all less productive and make more mistakes when multitasking. Here are three ways to boost productivity and kick multitasking to the Curb
The Morning Monster
We all wake up with a monster under the bed. I call this the Morning Monster – It’s that one task we most want to avoid. Maybe it’s responding to that email from that unhappy customer, Karen. Perhaps it’s following up on those unpaid invoices. Do that task first. Get it out’ the way! When we bring our Morning Monster into our day, it follows us around, lurking unseen. The more we avoid it or push it off for ‘easier’ tasks, the greater our anxiety grows. This Monster lurking in the background is a distraction. Once we tackle that Monster, we can fully focus on the tasks at hand. Plus, don’t you feel like a boss when you’ve accomplished something huge when that first cup of coffee is still piping hot?
The Bucket List
Kick that to-do list to the curb and replace it with a Bucket List. This is a system based on Tim Ferriss’ research and batch processing technique. It’s all about using the best parts of yourself at the right time, because, let’s be honest, we aren’t all rockstar entrepreneurs each second of each day!
- Break it down! Turn that to-do list into a list of tasks.
- Pull out the highlighters! Color coordinate each task based on the mode you need to be in to accomplish the task most effectively. For example, does the task drain your energy? Is it mindless ‘busy’ tasks where you just need to go through the motions?
Here’s a suggestion:
- Green: Tasks that fuels me. These things are fun and energizing activities in your biz. This might be creating content or being present with clients.
- Yellow: Doesn’t drain my energy. I can sort of go through the motions. Perhaps, reading and responding to emails.
- Red: Drains my energy. Takes a lot out of me but it’s gotta get done. Reading legal docs, anyone?
- Mark out an hourly calendar of your workday. Think – when are you most on your A-game? Do you tend to be focused AF for 2 hours after your morning coffee? Create a Bucket of red tasks that will take you about 2 hours to complete. Schedule it for that window. After a 2-hour bucket of red tasks, how much ‘refueling’ do you need? You know yourself best. Perhaps an hour bucket of green tasks follows. Do you hit a slump for 90 minutes after lunch? Let’s drop in a 90-minute bucket of yellow tasks to give the brain and body a break.
- Game changer! Once you’ve got a calendar of buckets, empty the entire bucket before moving to the next task. No checking emails while writing an article (maybe I’m using this example because I need to listen to my own advice!) Have a bucket full of spreadsheets and numbers? Don’t answer that phone call! Empty entire buckets before moving to the next.
As entrepreneurs, we take work home. We can’t help it – our businesses are our lives. However, to remain productive and prevent burnout, you’ve got to set boundaries. Have office hours and stick to them! This looks different for everyone. Decide not to take business calls after dinner. No checking emails after 8pm. Sundays are for family only. Whatever this looks like for you, create the structure and stick to it! You’ll find you are significantly more productive during your work hours.
Bye, Ms. Multitasker. Hello, Productivity Queen! Can’t wait to see how you level up using these three techniques.