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Productivity and time management are topics a lot of people are talking about these days. We are told to create goals, to-do lists, prioritize tasks, etc. All of those are great ideas but realistically, how much can we get done in a day? Is it possible that in our quest to achieve maximum productivity that we may be setting ourselves up for failure?
Putting too much on ourselves adds to the stress of our lives. How many times have you created that task list for one day and prioritized those tasks, only to get to the end of the day and not gotten everything done? How does that make you feel? Not very good I bet.
I used to do that; put way too many tasks on my list for one day and then felt bad when I didn’t get them all done, it’s not a good feeling. I don’t do that anymore. Now my time management strategy is to focus on one task for the day. If I get it done and have more time, yay! Then I proceed to the next task on my list. It makes me feel great that I accomplished more than I set out to do.
And forget about multitasking! Many productivity professionals have discovered that multitasking can be counter-productive. As science has demonstrated, our brains cannot effectively switch between tasks. It actually causes us to lose time. When we try to multitask, we are not completely focused on one thing which can cause us to make mistakes, which leads once again, to more stress. Multitasking is just not an effective time management strategy.
So the next time you sit down to create your list of tasks for the day, take the most important task from your list and write it down. Just one task, that’s it. When you complete that task, and you will, take a moment to realize how it makes you feel. That feeling of accomplishment can motivate you to take on the next most important task on your list. Doing one thing at a time is probably the most effective time management strategy.