You know these days when all customers call in at once, each of them adding a new to-do with deadlines set to the day before yesterday? Where to start when everything has to be done at the same time? 135.000 mails in the inbox and the phone ringing for the third time – good morning y’all! Before this stress turns into madness, we must take a deep breath, have some coffee and cleanly write down every To-Do. In the following article you will find tips on how to organize your To-Do list. Now you can structure your day ahead. One thing at a time: Singletasking is the new magic formula! #getshitdone
Singletasking – What is that?
Singletasking definitely has nothing to do with being single – just to get that out of the way. Singletasking is a working method that focuses on working on one task after the other. The full concentration lays on one To-Do only. The longer the To-Do list, the more important it is to keep your head clear. Now it’s about prioritizing tasks… What if everything is equally important? Well, then the choice is yours: which task are you most motivated for at the moment? In case of doubt, consulting with colleagues or the boss will help – how do they assess the priority of different tasks?
One thing after the other…
Let’s say, we work for 20 minutes on task that is at the top of our to-do list and concentrate solely on that topic, the quality of the result is likely to be very high, simply because our working method was maximally efficient and focused. We are mentally focused on one topic, on one client. This way we do not run the risk of mixing up customers, ideas or contact persons. Since efficiency is also a matter of time and we don’t let ourselves be influenced, stressed or distracted by other to-dos while singletasking, it is also quite possible that we might not even need a full 20 minutes for this first task. Every minute we won’t need can be used for the second task – with emphasis on “first” and “second”, one after the other (we can’t stress this often enough).
By completing only one task at a time, we prevent absent-minded mistakes and achieve a much better result. Thanks to high concentration and little distraction, our efficiency increases. We prevent stress by keeping a clear to-do list that will prioritize for us the tasks that we need to execute, which directly leads to improved productivity with less churn due to human mistakes. Last but not least: checking off a To-Do is simply a great feeling! So far the concept…
Do it, but do it now – How to become a Singletasker
Becoming a professional singletasker isn’t that hard – in fact, it is quite easy. Here too, one step at a time.
- Write a To-Do list
The key to successful singletasking is a structured To-Do list. Write bullet point after bullet point in anorder that makes sense to you and your tasks.What is the most important? What can be done the fastest? What am I most motivated to take care of? The logic is up to you, your clients and your deliverables. But a helpful keyword in this context is definitely motivation: super important to complete a task efficiently.
- Avoid unnecessary disturbance
Who can relate: we’re knee-deep in a task, we have an epiphany, we finally get going and then someone comes around the corner for some small talk. Nice in terms of team building, but unfortunately very disturbing for our concentration and efficiency in singletasking. How can this be avoided? First of all: home office. No colleague can just barge into the room (roommates are warned not to disturb you). But since home office is not always possible for everyone, please let your colleagues know before starting to work on a to-do that you do not want to be disturbed for the next half hour. Surely everyone will understand. Maybe your office also has a kind of “quiet room”? Incoming mails or video calls, among other things, can also come in your way. Therefore, second point: set up a blocker in your digital calendar (for example via Outlook). This way, everyone can see that you are currently unavailable, while the blocker also helps you with your personal scheduling. Close all programs that you don’t need to complete the task at hand. Third: put on headphones, block out the noise around you. The headphones not only silence the office noise, but also signal visually: I don’t want to be disturbed at the moment!
- Get the boost
Sometimes it takes little helpers to boost concentration, motivation and thus productivity. What these little helpers look like, each person must decide for themselves. We know best what helps us to concentrate. Here are a few examples: classical music, delicious coffee, drinking lots of water, having eaten enough beforehand, putting your cell phone aside… If you really can’t concentrate at all, write down what is on your mind. Even if it is a private matter – writing it down helps to put the thought aside for now. Here you will also find more tips for productive work with a focus on the home office.
- Check off task
The most important thing in singletasking is the actual completion of a To-Do. Finish the task and then check it off in your To-Dos list. You will see that checking off makes things easier – out of sight, out of mind. Now there is more room in your head for the next task. Take a short break and then continue!
If this working method appeals to you and you would like to try out singletasking yourself, you should consider the following: be consistent, don’t let anything get in the way “just this one time”, learn to say “no”. Explain to your colleagues and your boss beforehand how you work and why you rely on singletasking. Maybe this blog post will help you with your argumentation.
Conclusion: In the end, everyone has to find their own optimal way of working, there is nothing such as the one perfect method or strategy. Whether singletasker, multitasker or something in between, the most important point is that you find a rhythm in which you can complete your tasks in the best possible way. Singletasking is certainly very useful in some situations, for example when it comes to tasks that really require high concentration. But the “good old” multitasking has its advantages as well. Nevertheless, we hope that this blog post will inspire you to try something new or to think about your working method.
Picture Credit: Pixabay / Free-Photos
This post is also available in: German