How to multitask without losing focus?

A day has 24 hours, but the tasks in the list somehow exceed the count. The transition between the office, personal tasks, and social life is not a cakewalk.  

While there are many tips on focusing on the important task, there is no concrete answer to what if there are numerous tasks in the list of important tasks? 

There are two probable options: 

  • You choose to focus on one important task and finish most of it. But your responsiveness is delayed, and people depending on you suffer.
  • You are extremely responsive and help everyone with their queries. This ensures that their work is done, but your output suffers.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, or a part of a team, you have to find the equilibrium between prioritizing your work and being responsive to the collaborators. 

It is about learning the art of optimizing your output and sharing your input with the collaborators for their progress.

In 1965, IBM coined the term “multitasking” to describe a computer’s capability. Funnily, it was associated with humans. 

There is another computing term called “context switching.” It is the process of storing the current state for one task so that the task can be paused and something else can be resumed. Thus, it allows computers to multitask.

But it affects the performance of the computers, just like multitasking affects us. Research shows that constant switching between tasks makes us less focused and affects our performance.

In 1965, IBM coined the term “multitasking” to describe a computer’s capability. Funnily, it was associated with humans. 

There is another computing term called “context switching.” It is the process of storing the current state for one task so that the task can be paused and something else can be resumed. Thus, it allows computers to multitask.

But it affects the performance of the computers, just like multitasking affects us. Research shows that constant switching between tasks makes us less focused and affects our performance.

5 steps of mindful context switching 

Define your responsiveness 

The level of responsiveness is not the same for everyone. For example, you might have a high-value customer who needs you to assist them every 30 minutes, or you might sell a SaaS product that is not business critical, and it is fine to respond once daily. 

You need to define your responsiveness according to your business.

Design the work that you can take up

Figuring out how responsive you need to be will help you design your workflow. Then, break down the tasks into manageable chunks that can be done between the response time. 

For example, if you have to write an article, drafting the outline could be one chunk.

Make a schedule 

Once you have created manageable chunks, you need to put them in your calendar. 

Build a clear communication

Letting people know when you are available and when you are not. It is important to communicate with people you work with about your deep work hours and your absence during the time frame. 

You could also put it in the email signature if your response time is longer. Again, this might seem unusual at first, but it is a completely normal practice.

Reevaluate

Don’t duplicate your calendar from the last week. Rather spend some time evaluating if chunks of tasks worked out for you. Try experimenting until you find what works best for you.

It might feel like a little too much at first, but mindful context switching will help you do faster and better work while ensuring that you are available for people who need you.

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