Do you find the balancing act of managing multiple projects with competing deadlines to be challenging? Many of us do! This multitasking behaviour creates clutter which disturbs our focus and productivity.
Our overall productivity relies heavily on our focus. Our brain plays a significant role in setting our attention/focus when it intentionally allows us to choose what we see.
We can only focus our attention when we remove all disturbances, distractions, and mayhem from our lives, which can be a challenge at the best of times. Often we undermine our focus when we multitask, otherwise known as task switching, which is mental flexibility that includes the skill to shift attention between one task and another.
There are many theories as to whether multitasking is effective or not.
Switching from a conversation or thought to another is problematic for several reasons. Numerous studies indicate multitasking negatively affects our brains. When our brain multitasks, it uses more mental energy than it takes to focus on what we are doing. We not only place unnecessary demands on our brain, but we also waste time which affects productivity.
Due to our work's sheer volume, there are times when we must multitask whether we like it or not. When working with leaders, I've noticed they often work in clusters – they focus on a project and often have to redirect their attention and return to their task. This practice is not an ideal way to conduct work effectively. For tips on boosting productivity by eliminating multitasking, click here.
Multitasking creates clutter on our desks and our minds.
However, we can strategically clear away the clutter to focus and be in the moment when we need to, which is often. Clearing away the clutter is a strategy that enhances our social skills and helps us quiet our inner thoughts, and sharpen our listening skills. Here's the thing, if you're able to remove or reprioritize the unimportant, unwanted items, you'll definitely enhance your mental state and focus.
Tips to Clear Away the Clutter
- Focus your attention on the conversation at hand instead of the chatter continuously going on in our heads. If we can't control this, it negatively impacts our social awareness and how we project to others.
- Sharpen your listening skills. Actively listening to the person who is speaking is paramount. Some are developing a response to the question while the person is still communicating. This practice is not helpful; it's challenging to listen to yourself and others simultaneously.
You’ll find your productivity will soar when you clear away the clutter to focus and listen actively. You'll find your productivity will soar when you clear away the clutter to focus and listen actively.
Marshall Connects offers Emotional Intelligence Assessments and Coaching to enhance skill development in all areas, including self-management strategies enhancing your focus to improve overall productivity.
This article was originally published on March 25, 2017, and has been updated (March 2021).
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