I come across a lot of unusual “holidays” when creating the Monthly Nonprofit Writing Prompts e-newsletter. While some of them are silly, they can still make good writing prompts like Optimist Day (February 3rd) or Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day (December 8th)
And then there are things like Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbors Day (February 7th) or International Cherry Pit Spitting Day (July 1st) which I can’t really do anything with.
As someone who usually has at least two browser windows with multiple tabs open in each at any given time, Single-Tasking Day (February 22nd) got my attention. It didn’t really make a good writing prompt for the newsletter, but it was for me!
I want to share the principals behind it since we are constantly told multi-tasking is the ultimate display of productivity. (Keep reading to learn why that isn’t true)
The idea behind Single-Tasking Day is to focus on one thing at a time. Take a task, break it down, and be intentional about finishing it. While you can take a break, the goal is to minimize distractions and interruptions until the task is complete.
You can complete more than one task on this day, but you should only be focusing on one and finishing it before moving on.
Why is this important? Well because despite employers looking for people who can “multi-task”, multiple studies show that multitasking is less productive and leaves us more exhausted:
So next Tuesday, February 22nd, let’s celebrate Single-Tasking Day!
Here are some tips to transition from multi-tasking to single-tasking:
- Tell others what you are doing so they can leave you alone.
- Only have one browser tab open. (Or if you are doing research, etc only have those with relevant content open)
- Shut down email.
- Turn off your phone (or at least silence it).
- Turn off all other notifications.
- Do a Brain Dump then prioritize your tasks.
- Or pick that “ONE” thing you just can’t seem to stay focused on, but needs to get done.
- Use the ol’ Pomodoro Technique. (Focus on a single task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break.)
- Take breaks away from your computer. (Do not use this time to check email, etc or your will get distracted).
For a lot of us, this is completely foreign way of doing things and will take some practice. Hopefully it will become something we do all the time and not just on February 22nd!