Multi-Tasking Probably Isn't Helping Your Productivity

By Melissa Batai

We've been taught that multi-tasking is where it's at. You can be a successful work at home entrepreneur and mother IF you multi-task. Learn to juggle all of your responsibilities, and you'll have the best of both worlds--working at home and taking care of your children.

Here's a little secret, though. Multi-tasking probably isn't helping your productivity.

Does This Sound Familiar?

If you're anything like me, your day probably goes like this--sit down to write an article. After a few minutes of writing, take a break to check Facebook where I find a link to an interesting article. Read the article, which in turn links me to a different article. Read that, then search the web for something related to the second article. Stare at the computer for a moment. What was I doing? Oh, yeah, the article. Go back to the article and start writing again.

The problem? Fifteen minutes have passed, but I've only written three paragraphs.

The Solution?

For many people, multi-tasking doesn't work. If you suspect it isn't working for you, take steps to change your ways.
  • Instead of multi-tasking, try to compartmentalize your work. For instance, if you are writing an article, only write. Close your Internet browser so you're not tempted to peek at what is going on around the web.
  • Next, set an amount of time where you'll work on the task at hand. Set a timer if you'd like, or simply be conscious of how long you'll work before taking a break. I like to work for 30 to 50 minutes stretches and then take a 5 to 10 minute break to surf the web and read my favorite blogs. Then, it's back to work.
  • Not sure if multi-tasking is hurting your productivity? Simply take three hours of your day when you would multi-task and instead work on your projects one at a time. Did you get more done by focusing on the project at hand? If you're like me, the answer is a resounding yes.
Do you multi-task? If so, do you think it helps or hurts your productivity?

Melissa, a mom to three little ones (ages 7, 3 and 1) blogs at Mom's Plans where she writes about living a fulfilling life on less and focuses on cutting expenses, budgeting, paying down debt, saving money and once a month cooking.

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