11 - Single-tasking (via Pomodoro)
Multitasking is a unicorn.
What is single-tasking?
- Single tasking literally just means doing only one thing at a time. As simple as it sounds, I really do think this is one of the hardest things to do. Being present and focused both physically and mentally takes practice but will truly change the way you work.
- Pomodoro is a technique for working in blocks of focused time followed by break time. I think Pomodoro is the perfect way to get started with single-tasking because of the frequent breaks that are really nice you’re focusing so intently on the task at hand.
Why should I single-task?
- I firmly believe that multitasking is just doing two things less effectively than you could if you did them one at a time. Unless one of the tasks is truly mindless like sweeping or folding laundry, you won’t have enough mental space to do two things at once. Or rather you will be doing both things less effectively, which surprisingly often ends up taking more time AND producing worse outcomes. Check out the research for yourself but I’m telling you, single-tasking is the way to go.
How do I single-task?
The pomodoro technique is very simple. You work (on one thing at a time!) for 25 minutes. Then take a 5 minute break. Then repeat. Every four rounds you take a longer 20-30 minute break. Try to stay focused during the focus times though because you know there’s a break coming soon where you can check your phone or do whatever else you have the urge to do while you’re working. If Pomodoro isn’t quite clear to you, there are tons of resources (even timers and apps) on the internet explaining the strategy more.
However, the key for our purposes is that you do one thing at a time. You won’t be perfect at this when you start but just try to notice every time you get distracted and bring your focus back to the task at hand. Over time, you’ll get better, I promise.
11 – When you’re pomodoro-ing like a boss, check out step 12 to take your working habits to the next level.