Multitasking May Be Hampering Your Productivity

Michele Warg
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Productivity is a key part of getting work done in the office, but it's very easy to get distracted. Unfortunately, multitasking is one of the biggest distractions out there, and it prevents your team from being more productive.

When you multitask, you have to refocus on each new project, and that can take several minutes each time. As a result, you waste a lot of time because you're not maximizing productivity during each hour. Focus is the key to becoming more productive. This is difficult in an office, particularly when you have office gossip happening around you and people repeatedly coming up to your desk to ask questions or clarifications about what you're doing. It requires continuous refocusing, so if you feel mentally fatigued at the end of the day, it's not surprising. Becoming more productive, therefore, requires a little bit of ingenuity and organization.

Identify Essential Tasks

Select up to four tasks that you must complete each day, and make sure you concentrate on each one. If necessary, block out time on your calendar to specifically accomplish these tasks; this helps to ensure you are not interrupted.

Create a Focus Area

Maximizing productivity may mean negotiating to move your desk or even selecting another area in which to work in the building. This differs from person to person, but the ideal spot usually has the fewest distractions, relatively little foot traffic and low levels of music. In some cases, you might find it better to borrow a room for a few hours.

In addition, being more productive often means minimizing distractions on your computer. In some cases, apps might help to block certain sites that you find distracting.

Break Down Tasks

Turning each task into a series of subtasks can help you become more productive. This is because each task becomes more manageable when you have a viable outline, almost like writing an essay. When you create your to-do list, simply create an outline for each task so you know the steps you need to take to complete each one. Then, work through each step until the task is completed. This also helps the task seem more manageable, and it helps you to refocus if you get distracted.

Track Team Opportunities

It's not the time that your team spends getting items done that is the issue; instead, it's the time it wastes. To help your team, ask it what hinders productivity. In addition, is there anything that happens as part of a process that doesn't need to happen? Are individual team members making it harder to focus on core tasks by wanting to chat? All these questions can help you and your team become more productive by identifying weak points.

Various issues arise when you want to become more productive, and endless multitasking reduces focus and concentration. If you find it difficult to concentrate in the office, consider altering your schedule or even coming in at different times so you can focus on key tasks.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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