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How to Monotask

Multitasking
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If you do one thing today, it should be learning how to mono-task…

Multitasking – we love a bit of this. Toggling between browser tabs on a conference call while juggling a grande latte and a group chat on Google Hangouts can make us feel like the Grand Poobah of Productivity.  Then burn out hits. Ironic, isn’t it? Such is the curse of hyperconnectivity. Any contextual switch, like interrupting work on an important project to answer an urgent email, requires an equivalent mental gear shift. Too many of these and the recovery process placed on the brain can delay getting back into work mode by up to 25 minutes. Think of how many times you’ve pulled the old switcheroo today. Scary, isn’t it?

With time so precious a commodity, it’s important we value it as such. Thankfully, there’s a new paradigm afoot as monotasking becomes the latest workplace metric. If profit margins grow where attention flows, then consider it a form of mindful time management or holistic hustling. Need help focusing?  Take some toolbox tips from the experts below…

HOW TO DOWNGRADE FROM MULTI TO MONO:

LIMIT YOUR TABS

Arianna Huffington, chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, suggests keeping focus using ‘Controlled Multi-Tab Browsing’, a tip from her mindfulness tome Thrive. “Set a maximum number of tabs (say, four or six),” she says, “and the (Chrome) plug-in will prevent you from opening any more than a set number until you are done.” As an author of fourteen books, mother to two children and syndicated columnist, we’re inclined to believe her.

2. SCHEDULE SAVASSANA

Motivational speaker, life coach and New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein (Gabbyb.tv) suggests ‘taking a fiver’: Try five minutes of lying down, palms up in total relaxation. Yoga fans will know this delicious repose as Savasana (Corpse Pose), where the body absorbs the benefits of one’s practice. Bernstein suggests visualising a light beaming energy into the body, recharging you from the inside out. Groovy.

3. THINK STRATEGICALLY

Tony Schwartz maintains we can Be Excellent at Anything – which is pretty sassy (and so happens to be the title of his bestselling book) but the man knows his onions. As CEO of The Energy Project, Schwartz believes sustainable high performance can only happen when we differentiate between what’s important and urgent. Got a pitch, creative project or strategy to nail? Establish ‘full engagement’: That means regular, scheduled times for open-ended thinking. And unplug for God’s sake…

Annmarie O’Connor

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