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The Myth of Multitasking

I used to proudly call myself as a multitasker. I’d go to my interviews talking about it, write cover letters about how great I am with it until I discovered its myth.

Multitasking can only take you so far. Actually, what it does is it makes you cope or survive but that’s it. You get to do what you need to do without being able to go in-depth with it.

This makes you miss opportunities to catch problems as they begin or see points for improvement.

Even more, multitasking usually makes you miss important details making the task at hand take longer than it would normally would.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot do two different things at the “same time” such as running multiple businesses or being an employee while building your startup. Of course you can.

What I’m talking about is the nitty gritty on handling what you need done for these different things - aka how you do things on a daily, even hourly basis.

You can’t be on a Skype call with a potential client while writing up another report that’s due for your work.

You end up sacrificing the quality of work you deliver. You’re lucky if it’s good enough but most of the time both things go from mediocre to bad - getting you nowhere.

When I was multitasking, it always felt like I was in survival mode. There was no room for critical and creative thinking because my mind was never focused. It was cluttered and it was everywhere. I realized I was always catching up. I knew something had to shift.

One thing I learned is doing Serious Focused Work. If you’re juggling a bunch of things, schedule them out. If you’re supposed to be at your day job, be at your day job 100%. If you’re supposed to work on your startup, be there 100%. You’d be surprised how much an hour of 100% focused work can get you. Hint: A LOT.

This might take awhile to feel natural, as with any changes in habit, it will take time. But it will help you grow further. Here are some things I found helpful to start:

  • Block off hourly chunks in your calendar. Really put them there.

  • With each chunk, put what you plan to finish or focus on during that time.

  • No phone calls. Turn those off. The only notification you should get is from your calendar telling you if your hour is up.

  • After each hour, take a break, a real one. Stand up and leave your desk or just do something totally unrelated which would relax your mind. (I do chores - see this makes me keep my house clean too. lol)

  • Rinse and repeat.

It may seem weird at first but try it. Once you get into the habit, you can change this to something that makes more sense to you. I’ve changed mine a lot depending on what I really need as of the moment. For example, I allot two hours for bigger tasks, sometimes even half a day.

Whatever it is, learn to focus on one thing first before you jump to the next.

If you want to grow in your business, day job and even in your relationships - FOCUS. Give it no less than your 100% attention.


Image by Kristopher Roller


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