Quit multitasking in two (consecutive!) steps.

How many windows do you have open right now? How many tabs in this application?Are you on your smartphone just to pass the 30 seconds of downtime you have while you wait for something else?

Stop multitasking. I’m not going to bother going into the reasons you should stop, since they are so well-documented (reported in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Quartz, HuffPost, the American Psychological Association, where they discuss “switching costs”, as well as way too many scholarly articles to list here).

What I want to talk about is how to stop, not why.

You need to do two things. Just two things:

(1) Decide on your priorities with the relevant parties.

Stop being a hero, including prioritizing on your own. Instead of doing everything asked of you on the job and burning out, have a conversation with your team and your boss with your job description in hand, and ask, “I have limited time. What should we focus on to do extremely well, and how should we triage or mitigate fallout from the rest?”

Instead of doing everything at home, have a conversation with your spouse, and ask, “We have limited time. What are we going to commit to this week because we both feel it’s wildly important, what can we get help on, what are we going to throw money at, and what will we be ok with passing up?”

(I’m a single mom, so I have that conversation with my 4 year old, to mixed results, but I believe in this principle, so I keep going!)

(2) Book completion of things in your calendar.

Focus. Calendar the time to COMPLETE something, and you will not only feel the accomplishment, but in addition to all the well-documented reasons against multi-tasking, you will get it done so much more quickly.

Strategy #1 will relieve you of the feeling that everything is important.

Strategy #2 will get the important things done efficiently.

Try it right now. Tell me what your experience is.

Come on! Tell us what you're thinking.

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