Have you ever been labeled as a multi-tasker? Many people take on the label with great pride and a sense of accomplishment. It is hard work to do multiple things at the same time. There is much brain power that goes into the focus required to spread yourself thin enough to dabble in several different things or in several different conversations at one time. However, if you were to take a step back and review your patterns of success and behavior in the midst of a multi-tasking frenzy, does your efficiency and productivity always shine through on the busy days?

I’m guessing the answer is a resounding “no”. There are many times in which multi-tasking leads to more distraction than it does accomplishment. Yes, there may be victories along the way and check marks secured on a to-do list, but could you have actually done more with your time if you would have slowed down a bit and applied a more narrowed focus? There are times when our devout multi-tasking tendencies have no choice but to rise to the occasion, like speeding through the grocery store to pick up those last-minute items for dinner while talking to your child about their tough day at school with a phone awkwardly propped on your shoulder because you’ve been waiting to speak to a customer service rep for the last 45 minutes. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and muddle through as best you can.

However, if we were to compartmentalize our days, we would find that many of the projects that we seek to complete could have been finished in markedly less time if we would have shut out the other elements vying for our time and attention. Like when that quick Google search to research someone’s name or title accidentally turned into a 5-minute gab session on Facebook Messenger. When that 10-minute break from a pressing deadline to grab coffee and check your phone was actually an hour of catching up on emails and texting your sister about the plans for next weekend.

For every multi-tasking adventure, there are usually a few setbacks. Some may be more minimal than others, and some days may appear more productive than usual. But, it never hurts to try and hone in on your ability to focus and concentrate on the required tasks of the day with a more systematic approach. The folks at The Muse have developed a few tips and tricks that can be added to your daily routine and potentially minimalize your distractions and amp up your efficiency. Check out the link below for more details on how to win back your valuable time!