In our 140-character, real-time world, most of us are no strangers to multi-tasking.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that the habit of trying to work on many things at once generally leads to decreased productivity.
So, while you may feel like you’re always doing so much more, you’re likely not getting as much done as you could if you focused on one task at a time.
After a few weeks of “interval training” (focusing on one task for set amounts of time, with breaks in between), Johnson discovered that improving your attention span is possible, and that single-tasking does help him get more done.
Here are a few productivity tips, from his blog, InfoVegan:
- Proactively construct your own distraction-free environment. Johnson wears noise-cancelling headphones, listens to soft, lyric-free music, keeps snacks and water close by, and recommends scheduling all your meetings during one chunk of time in the afternoon so “you have solid, long blocks of time to focus on getting things done.”
- That second monitor is probably distracting you more than it’s helping you. “Two monitors just allows me to put distractions on one monitor, and actual work on another.”
- Your project at hand and the tools related to it should be the only thing visible on your desktop. (Johnson does this using Mac OS X’s “Spaces”.) “[I]nstead of having always-on distraction in one monitor on my desk, I can put my email, twitter, and surfing browser in one “Space” on OS X and keep it there.”
- Limit your open tabs. “None of my web browsers — surfing or otherwise, are allowed to have more than 5 tabs per browser window at any time… It’s forced me to pay attention to a particular web page and finish working with it if I’m going to move on to something else.”
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