To get more work done, I’ve taken a very linear approach to productivity. Doing one thing at a time.
It almost sounds counter-cultural, I know. Especially if you work in an agency setting like I currently do. Work and to-do’s are flying all around you. Sometimes it feels like the only way to get anything done is to work on that keynote during your meeting for another client or take a slightly quieter conference call to knock out some emails much quicker.
Sure, it feels more productive. Even sometimes, like in a PR fire drill situation, it’s a necessity. We’re constantly in a plugged-in, always on. If we don’t have multiple screens in front of us all giving us information, we don’t feel quite as productive. I’ve felt like this before (still do). However, I started trying new things.
Used to, I would take all my meeting notes with Evernote. It was great until…well…all these other pop ups and notifications started coming up while taking notes. I’m fairly ADD and if something pops up in the corner of my eye and I have to investigate. Eventually, I forget which task I turned my computer on for in the first place.
Ever walk into a room and forget why you went in there? It’s kinda like that for me online.
Taking Meetings Analog
Recently, unless I have something very specific I need my computer for (a presentation or demo), I don’t bring it with me to meetings. I’ve just started taking hand-written notes and jotting down action items off on the side in a list format. When I work, I try and close out all my windows and work on one specific task at a time.
Even trying to ignore email best as I can. It’s hard but I’ve noticed a few things.
The quality of my work has improved.
I actually get things done quicker.
Seriously. When I’m zeroed in on one particular task, more of my brain energy can be directed to it. It helps me pay attention to the quality of my work more and I can direct more problem solving skills to what I’m trying to accomplish. In addition, the work seems less stressful somehow. The quality of what I could get done improved and less and less little easy-to-miss things slip through the cracks. I’m becoming less and less a believer in the whole idea of multi-tasking. I’m not perfect at this by any stretch and still struggle to not multi-task, but it’s been a nice gradual change.
What about you? Does multi-tasking work for you? Or are you able to stay focused on one thing at a time.