Have you noticed that people have really been putting an emphasis on “work smarter not harder” lately? You may or may not have researched what the heck that means, but this is one of the primary focuses of that statement: Doing one thing at a time.
It seems like I’ve read research on this everywhere lately. Long gone are the days when we celebrate people who were on the phone, while writing a report, while watching the news. Because, as we now know, someone who is doing all of those things at once is not doing any of them well.
And you may think, I don’t do that. But… what about your phone? It has become the new face of multi-tasking and we don’t even realize it! Twitter notifications, Facebook notifications, Snap Chat notifications, Texts, E-Mails… and of course, the good ole’ phone call. It’s a little much. It’s multi-tasking. And most of the time, we don’t even realize we’re doing it!
But we need our phones so how do we stop?
Tony Schwartz of the Harvard Business Review suggests 3 simple solutions to multi-tasking that we can all implement in our daily lives:
1. Maintain Discipline.
Set a timer for 45 minutes (not a full hour), put your phone on silent (or in a different room), and spend that 45 minutes COMPLETELY FOCUSED on your task! Then spend 15 minutes reviewing what you completed, do a quick check of phone notifications, grab some water, etc. When the 15 minutes is up, start all over again!
2. Stop Demanding or Expecting Instant Responses.
Just because you received an e-mail or a text doesn’t mean that you have to drop whatever you’re in the middle of and respond immediately. And you know what? I think people who expect to receive immediate responses come across as pretty self-absorbed. Everyone is busy. Everyone is stressed. Everyone has deadlines. Don’t let others kill your productivity!
Have you ever noticed that sitting at a desk and “studying” for hours is one of the worst feelings in the world? That’s because it is. Not only that, it’s also one of the least productive things in the world! Most of our brains can only completely focus for less than an hour. However, when you take breaks, it fills up your focus to 100% again.
Do something to refresh your brain! Stand outside, grab some water, do some yoga poses, lay down in the floor, draw a picture, do whatever will relax your body and brain for a few minutes! It may feel unproductive, but it’s actually one of the most productive things you could possibly do!
So this weekend, as you find yourself spending extra time writing lesson plans, finishing up school projects, or even hanging out with your friends (this is the one I’m the most guilty of), be ALL THERE. In that one thing. And just do it really well! :)
Do you agree with this or has multi-tasking worked for you in the past? Also, I love to hear about study strategies, so let me know if you have a system that works well for you!