A simple way to get more done in less time

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You’ve heard that multitasking is less efficient than doing one thing at a time. But do you know why?

The answer is that we’re not really multitasking. That’s a misnomer. The term implies that we’re doing two (or more) tasks at the same time. In truth, our brains won’t allow this. What we’re really doing is “task switching”.

We may switch rapidly from one task to the next but according to research, the simple act of constantly switching tasks can cost us up to 40 percent more time.

Apparently, when we stop one task and start another, in order to help us focus, our brains go through a process of shutting down the rules it is following for the first task and opening up a different set of rules for the task we are about to switch to.

Minimize task switching, and you might be able to get the same amount of work done in five hours that would otherwise take eight.

To minimize task switching, we should do whatever we can to finish one task before starting another. That means giving ourselves a big enough block of time to complete a project, or take it as far as we can, in one sitting.

Researching and writing a brief for a solid two hours is better than doing it 30 minutes at a time.

If you have smaller tasks, do them in batches. For example, do all of your research or make all of your calls during the same block of time.

And, minimize distractions and interruptions. Turn off your phone when you’re working on a writing project. Make sure your staff knows not to disturb you. Because according to other research, every time we get interrupted or distracted, it takes an average of twenty minutes to get back to where we left off.

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