In an era where productivity is paramount, it’s crucial to understand how task-switching can impact your ability to get things done. Switching from one task to another can be a productivity killer, leading to a waste of valuable time. Often, we believe that multitasking will save us time, but the reality might surprise you.
The Productivity Lessons We Can Learn From Pilots
To understand how we can increase our productivity, let’s look at pilots. Pilots leverage extensive checklists and briefings to execute standard operating procedures. They brief each major phase of flight, including takeoff, cruise, approach, and landing. They know what will happen next before it even happens. So, what can we learn from this? The power of preparation.
The Pitfalls of Task Switching and Multitasking
Now, let’s delve into how task switching happens. Research indicates that only 2.5% of the population can effectively multitask. Also, many of us are guilty of finishing one task and then wasting time searching before switching to another task without a plan. This lack of planning can lead to a decrease in productivity as we spend time searching for the next task to perform.
How to Improve Your Productivity
So, how can we improve? One key is that some multitasking can work for you. For instance, brushing your teeth while choosing what to wear. When one task requires virtually no emotional overhead, multitasking can be effective. However, if both tasks require thought, it’s best to avoid it.
Further, creating a weekly plan on Sundays can be beneficial. Having a clear idea of your values and goals will enable you to prioritize what matters before the week begins. Additionally, a daily review of your plan allows you to adjust it as necessary. Lastly, keeping a reasonable number of tasks on your to-do list will limit the time spent searching for the next thing to do.
The Benefits of Improving Your Productivity
Improving your productivity can have a significant impact. With a 40% productivity loss due to multitasking, you could gain almost half an hour of productive time for each hour spent not multitasking. It’s clear that the ability to focus on one item in a long list of tasks is a challenge for virtually anyone. Keeping your to-do list to a manageable number can radically improve your productivity and effectiveness.
Remember to work like a pilot. Use checklists and brief your day before it gets started. Stop multitasking when two thought channels are required, and only when one task channel requires no thought. Create a weekly plan, and schedule a daily review. With these strategies in place, you’re on your way to a more productive life.