Are you able to “uni-task”? There is such praise in our culture for those who can “multi-task”, balancing a variety of responsibilities at the same time. But is that, in fact, leading to more productive and fulfilling work? Or are we just really good at letting mediocrity fit the bill? We’re all so used to jumping when a new email comes in or a notification from twitter pops up or perhaps the phone does it’s old-fashioned-thing and rings with an incoming call. Regardless, we try to carry on with replying to that email and responding to the tweet all while listening to the person on the phone - but are we really hearing what they’re saying? I can think of a number of times where I’ve been distracted during a conversation and let my attention wander causing me to miss something important in a meeting or client call. By multi-tasking, I’ve created a habit in which I’m only creating more work for myself. I’ve decided uni-tasking is in fact the more challenging way of working and something I need to learn how to do.
“So recognizing when habits are no longer working for us and sacrificing them in a cornerstone of wisdom. We might think we’re in charge of our thoughts and behavior… but so often it’s actually our autopilot that’s in control.”
Thrive, Ariana Huffington
During my trip to Jamaica I realized that this habit had become worse over time and affected my ability to focus especially when it comes to writing. When stuck on a thought, word, or transition I’m quick to pick up my phone to check a useless email or social media notification, or to get up and get a snack when I’m not really hungry… I’m thinking of those pretzels in my cupboard right now... But how do I break this habit? One that not only disrupts me from my flow and line of thinking, but also makes me less productive leading me to my number one pet peeve: wasting time!!
So as I write this blog, I’ve made a vow to keep my bum in my chair until this task is done - then I can decide if I’m still craving that snack or if that email really needs to be checked. I’ve also changed my email settings to only push email to my phone manually which eliminates at least one of the many interruptions I experience every day. Hopefully by taking these baby steps I can start to have more productive working and writing hours all while getting more out of conversations and day-to-day interactions. Do you have any tips to help me break this habit?? Please leave them in the comments below!