Multitasking correctly: what you need to know to be productive

Productivity Arata! If you are a FOCUS course student, you know that to achieve exceptional results you need focus.

And to have focus, to concentrate well enough to achieve quality results in a short time, you need to focus all your attention on only one thing at a time, on doing it well, and especially on doing the right thing. You can visit this link here to increase your power of concentration on one activity at a time.

But does that mean we have to completely abandon multitasking and never perform several activities at the same time? Absolutely not!

1. In very challenging situations, multitasking is required.

It is not realistic to imagine that you will maintain full focus on one task all day.

No matter what you do:

– If you have a job that requires a lot of you …

– If you are an entrepreneur who is responsible to make your team work efficiently …

– If you take care of household chores and family …

… It’s natural to go through times when many people appear at the same time asking for your attention.

And in these times of great stress, you cannot explain that you are focused on something else. You cannot act like a prima donna who refuses to give attention to others and will only solve a single thing at a time.

2. Eliminating multitasking is an unattainable goal.

You do not want to set an unattainable goal to totally eliminate multitasking from your life.

By the way, refusing to perform any type of multitasking can be a low-productivity strategy.

Try for example to cook a pasta dish, doing just one thing at a time. First you watch the pot for several minutes, waiting for the water to boil. And then you put in the pasta and stay fully concentrated, watching it cook. Only then do you start preparing the sauce. If that takes a long time, the pasta has cooled, and the end result is not good. Obviously we’re talking about pasta as an example: in your professional environment I’m sure you can imagine situations where avoiding multitasking is not an efficient way to work.

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3. Do not spend all day in multitasking!

On the other hand, you do not want a life where you are multitasking all the time. And here is where we begin to make smarter choices.

Few people are fully aware of how they are working. They just react automatically. They begin, for example, by focusing on a single task, but suddenly someone comes along and interrupts them, and then they change to multitasking. That’s being reactive and losing sight of what you want to accomplish.

What can you do to increase your awareness? First, make sure you have completed our course FOCUS, which is a short course that you complete in a single day and will give you all the exercises you need. Visit this link to enrol now.

Even if you are not a FOCUS student, here are some quick tips that I share in our Arata Academy YouTube channel. Take notes—it is quite simple:

4. Plan your breaks.

It does not matter if you own a business, if you are a student, if you take care of the house, or if you are an employee in a large or small business. One thing is certain: sooner or later you will be interrupted. This is inevitable. So it does not make sense to resist the inevitable.

That’s why in addition to learning how to behave in times of focus, you need to learn how to deal effectively in times of multitasking to complete what is important and increase your productivity.

5. Separate moments of concentration and moments of multitasking.

Define which moments of your day you will be focused on a single task, and which times you will be purposely multitasking. This is part of the planning of interruptions: you direct them to the moments of multitasking.

6. Perform similar activities in the same block of time.

The brain has difficulty processing information in parallel. What we do is process one piece of information after another, serially, and it happens so quickly that we think we are multitasking. What we are doing is sequential thinking in the same block of time.

So you can group related tasks in the same block of time.

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When you work on a certain activity, you are using certain neural channels related to that activity.

Imagine you are in the midst of finalizing a complicated Excel spreadsheet, and I interrupt you and ask you to draw a logo for a new company product. It takes a while to get out of that analytical and numerical mode to get into a more creative, visual mindset.

When you change activity, your brain must perform an adjustment. This change can cause a loss of efficiency and difficulty focusing as you struggle to remember the most efficient way to address the new activity. The more you switch between completely different things, the more inefficient you are.

So to be effective in multitasking blocks, dedicate each block to similar activities. For example, avoid switching between writing a report and answering numerous emails … because the email responses and the report writing are very different activities.

It is better to focus for a time on writing the report, and then in another block of time, answer five emails. During the time you’re answering emails you are engaged in one activity that requires one mode of thought.

7. Learn to use simple task lists.

See our episode 07 in the Productivity Arata series.  There you will find a very important tip if you deal with a number of people who make your work chaotic. You need to stay clear on what is most important to complete that day—with such clarity, you can accommodate other requests as much as possible. But never lose sight of what you really need to complete that day.

Elon Musk takes multitasking to the extreme—he has to take care of several companies and responsibilities. At the same time, he also knows how to focus during certain hours. If you are interested, I can record a video about this entrepreneur for you.  Leave a comment if you would like to hear my analysis of entrepreneurs like Elon Musk.

Meanwhile, again, for those who do not know about the FOCUS course, here is a tip: it is one of the fastest and simplest courses of Arata Academy, one that will certainly help you a lot. Visit this link here.