The psychological research is clear - you can’t really multi-task. What you’re really doing is switching between single tasks very quickly. This “context-switching” kills productivity and increases your chances of making a mistake. Here’s how you can work more efficiently through your daily tasks:
Work on the most important tasks first. (And try to automate away other tasks that interrupt your day).
Schedule a block of time during the workday where you won’t take meetings, answer the phone, check texts, email or social media so you can focus on your most important tasks.
Take time to blank out! Shut down your mental processing. Why? Your pre-frontal cortex (i.e your “creativity core processor”) actually can work on problems subconsciously, but only if you’re not barraging it with other information to process. Give it a rest by going for a walk, exercising, listening into music, or even just zoning out! You might be pleasantly surprised later when you’re able to solve a lingering problem quickly!
We’ve used some of these tips with pretty good success. Admittedly, it’s not easy or always possible to do, but just making a conscious effort to be smarter about organizing your daily tasks will, over time, make you more productive (and possibly even happier)!