Yesterday, we touched on the need to strip back a little and ditch multitasking…if you missed it, you can read the article here.
I’ll go into a bit more detail today about exactly what monotasking is and how to start.
Monotasking is basically doing one task at a time – you don’t put a load in the washing machine while you’re working through emails, or listen to a webinar while updating your social media pages. Monotasking is the minimalist approach to working where you block everything out and focus just on the important things.
How to start
At the core of monotasking is using a list. This is what will help you stay focused on the work you are doing without worrying about forgetting other tasks you need to do.
Keeping the list can be as simple or complex as you want or need it to be. So, if you like to write everything down, do; if you like to set reminders on your mobile phone, do; and if you like colourful Post-it notes around your home or desk then use them.
Keep a diary
We can’t sing the praises of the Filofax or Moleskine diaries enough, but there are others on the market if you do a little Googling.
The main point here is to schedule your activities so you know what’s coming out week after week and not miss anything out. Then decide the day(s) you’ll do the work and decide the priority order on those days.
Block out the distractions
Social media notifications, emails, text messages…they are all culprits. It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that taking a couple of seconds to read a text or ‘like’ a post won’t affect your work but they invariably do. Try to turn off the sound to mobiles and laptops so you can work undisturbed.
For important calls from the school or nursery, most smartphones these days allow you to create priority lists so that even when you are blocking other calls and notifications they will still come through.
Replying to emails
As mentioned above, constantly answering emails can be a distraction. Instead, you can set aside specific times of the say when you reply. Give yourself 10-15 minute periods so that any messages that any review jn response to yours can be dealt with, too.
Take a break
If all you do is work throughout the day and nothing much else you will exhaust yourself. Schedule in a break so you can avoid mental exhaustion.