Focus and Multitasking Not Symbiotic
Multitasking prevents you from being focused on working efficiently. Instead of high-quality, you will produce many sub-par, finished products. To combat multitasking, you should Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS). If you concentrate and address on one task at a time, you will produce quality. Quality is much more profitable on all levels than quantity.
The Focus Challenge
I challenge you to FOCUS on one of your immediate tasks, starting right now, or as soon as you can. Follow the next three steps to help you meet my challenge.
Step 1: Officially schedule a block of time to complete/work on a task.
Start easy and give yourself a win. Chose a goal that, with intense focus, you can complete in less than 2-hours. Schedule the entire 2-hour block of time in your calendar. If your schedule is accessible by colleagues, mark the time as busy.
Step 2: Eliminate distractions and improve your efficiency
Temporarily Disconnect Yourself
Temporarily eliminate all the distractions during the time scheduled for you to focus on and complete your task. Place a "do not disturb" note on your door, turn off the wifi/unplug the ethernet, silence your cellphone, turn off the ringer on your landline, turn your computer alerts off, and confirm that your calendar shows you as busy so colleagues will not interrupt you.
Step 3: If necessary, set an appropriate email auto-reply and voicemail greeting.
Calm Your Anxiety
Are worried about missing an email while you focus on your work? Calm your anxiety by setting an auto-reply informing those that send you a message that you are unavailable between the scheduled start and end times — adding that you will respond as soon as you can after the end time. You might want to do something similar with your voicemail greeting.
The Benefits of Being Focused
Imagine being able to put all your thoughts and effort into just one task at a time. Think about the added value you will bring to those you interact with when you devote all your attention to their issue.
When you are focused, you will experience a significant increase in the quality of your work. Once you incorporate focus time into your daily schedule, you will discover that you can accomplish more in a given day than you can when you multitask. By following the suggestions above, you will give yourself every advantage to focus, finish one course until successful, which will result in your best results.