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Working down your 'to do' list and handling the days many distractions can often leave you with very little time to hit pause for the important things - meditating, practising gratitude, connecting with those you love and spending time in prayer. But what if a few small changes could help with that? I'm talking about 'single tasking' - focusing on one thing at a time to help achieve the essentials more efficiently and create more of those precious moments of pause.
I'll admit that 'multi-tasking' sat at the heart of my time management for years and I'm still a work in progress; a recovering multi-tasker! Learning to focus on one task at a time intuitively feels right, but when that's met with years of programming, it can be a challenge. It does gets easier though and the results? A clearer mind and more time for the important things.
If you'd like to create more time in your day for yourself then I recommend you giving 'single tasking' a try - here's a few of the things that I find particularly helpful...
CREATE A MASTER LIST
It's too easy to get distracted with every thought that crosses your mind - before you know it you're 'researching' something completely off topic in the middle of an important task! Carry a notebook with you and when those thoughts or 'must do's' cross your mind - write them down. You can review the book at the end of each day and if it's still important then add the task into your schedule.
LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN ANOTHER ROOM WHILE YOU WORK
We all love them but they're a terrible distraction. When you need to focus, checking your phone regularly will just make the task you should be doing take even longer. Leave your phone in another room and check in only during breaks.
DIVIDE YOUR DAY INTO BLOCKS
This stops you from flooding the day with too many 'must do's'. Divide your day into blocks of time - whatever works for you. I personally like 2 hour blocks because it gives me enough time to get to the heart of a task and take action on it. Find what works best for you but make sure that the blocks are distraction free - no phones, email, calls or social media. Fill each block with a single task or a batch of small, similar tasks.
KEEP CLUTTER TO A MINIMUM
Clear desk = Clear Mind. We all love sitting down to a clutter free space at the start of the day but if you’re a paper magnet like me then you'll need a system for keeping it under control! Files, folders and notebooks are all great but try not to have too many on the go at one time. Make clearing the daily clutter a habit that you practice at the end of every day. Read more about how clearing clutter helps to clear your mind.
ONLY CHECK EMAILS AT DESIGNATED TIMES
This is one of my all time favourite tips, it's hard to stick to in the beginning but once you do your days are transformed! I like to check in a couple of times during the day - never first thing because there's potential for a message to take my day off track. I tackle my priority tasks first and then check in.
TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
There's plenty of research about when we should take breaks and how long for but I think it's best to do what feels right. I've found that I work well in focused 2 hour slots with short breaks. Take it easy and test what works for you.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.