August 22, 2011 | Posted in:Taking Action

I have always been a person who has taken pride in my multi-tasking skills. I have often boasted about my ability to juggle multiple balls at once (both metaphorically and literally!).

As a consultant it is important to keep track of numerous clients, deadlines, activities and “to do” lists. However, I am becoming acutely aware that although the balls need to remain in the air, the focus should only be on one ball at a time.

It is time to step away from multi-tasking, and actually get back to single tasking.

Try to spend time giving one task your TOTAL attention.
Take away all the various distractions – the emails, that other task you need to get done, that phone call, that pile of washing, that letter that just dropped through the letter box, what you are going to cook for dinner, that business plan you need to get onto…. You will always have a large list of other actions, but if you take the time to focus on each action one at a time, then you will power through your list.

Sure over the course of a day it important to get variety, to check on all those balls and ensure they aren’t dropping. The variety and choosing what your day looks like is one of the many great things about running your own business and working for yourself.

But in this moment, remain focused.
Keep your attention on that one ball and put your mind and energy and passion into that particular task.

I have recently started using a technique I found on the internet. All it takes is 10 minutes of focused time. I have found it really works for me (although 15 minutes is actually better and more productive for me). For those 15 minutes I don’t let anything take me away from the task I am doing. That task has my total undivided attention and I come away feeling like I have really achieved something in that short amount of time.
Then for the next 5 minutes I empty my brain of any other small actions or thoughts that came up during the previous 15 minutes and either action them straight away, or put them on  my “to do” list to do at another time. Those 5 minutes feels like a real break – I can check my emails, make a cup of tea, put a load of washing on or jump out of my chair and move my body.

As someone guilty of procrastination, I have found that keeping the focus and attention for a small amount of time takes away the need to put off tasks because they are too big or complex or whatever other excuse I choose on that day! Even I can focus for 15 minutes, and those bite sized chunks sure have helped me power through actions and keep on top of all those balls.

So, how about you put those balls down and allow yourself the space and time to look at just one at a time.
Let me know how you get on.

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