Some days I get pulled in so many different directions, I don’t do anything well.
When I multitask, I can’t focus, I get stressed out, and it often takes me longer to accomplish a task than if I had been hyper-focused on one thing at a time.
Described to me as time confetti, I cannot think of a better way to describe my workflow when I focus on too many things at once.
Author Ashley Whillans describes time confetti, as “little bits of seconds and minutes lost to unproductive multitasking.” Coined by writer Brigid Schulte, time confetti is a huge threat to my ability to achieve work/life balance.
It’s not the interruptions on an individual basis that cause great distraction, it’s the intermittent pings from my phone or the “urgent” email from a colleague that has to be handled right then and there that are cumulative.
These distractions weren’t present 50 years ago and, while technology has done a lot to help us become more efficient in our daily routine, it has also made it really difficult to engage in deep thought and contemplation.
Here are some ways I try to combat time confetti with hopes that a couple of the proposed solutions might be helpful to you:
- Turn off all notifications on your phone and computer. The pings you receive are disastrous for your ability to concentrate.
- Meditate just a bit before you start your big projects to focus your energy on the task at hand. Even 4–5 minutes of meditation can help you focus so you can get into your most important work more quickly.
- Start each day by blocking off time in your calendar for your most important tasks and set realistic deadlines for each one. This process helps me cut out the urge to start working on other, less important tasks throughout the day.
- Take breaks regularly to avoid burnout and maintain focus. I like 45-minute work sessions, followed by a 15-minute break.
- Learn to say no to low-priority tasks and delegate responsibilities when possible to free up time for creative work. I use the Eisenhower Matrix to help me stay focused.
What tips do you have for combatting time confetti? Let me hear from you in the comment section below.
Photo Credit: Eric Brolin
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