In our high-tech and fast-paced world, we are often told that we can multitask our way to success. It’s easy to monitor all of our apps, widgets and notifications to stay updated, connected and productive while we are trying to work.
Often I’ve found myself listening to podcasts while replying to emails, while monitoring a Slack channel conversation, and though this feels like I’m being productive, it’s really not. I’ve discovered that the myth of multitasking is false and does not result in more productivity.
Here’s what I’ve learned from Jordan Raynor’s new book, Redeeming Your Time. This wonderful book applies Biblical principles to self-management, prioritizing, and productivity in our work.
In chapter four Raynor shares his key insights to becoming wildly productive. Here are some of my key takeaways:
- Concentrate. Commit to only doing one thing at a time. Have a sorting system to quickly locate any emails, requests, tasks that come your way each day and then focus on the priorities that will get you closest to your goals.
- Stay focused and don’t let distractions take you off your tasks. This is easier said than done. Raynor suggests letting others curate news for you rather than checking news feeds each hour, and “parenting your phone” – putting your smartphone somewhere out of reach when you’re trying to rest or focus.
- Depth of work can be accomplished when you’ve followed the first two principles and set aside dedicated, undisturbed time to work intentionally on one specific task. He recommends 90 minute blocks, followed by 10 minute breaks.
Management consultant, educator, and author Peter Drucker said that “doing one thing at a time means doing it fast. The more one can concentrate time, effort, and resources, the greater the number and diversity of tasks one can actually perform.”
So, take the One Thing Challenge with me. Make a commitment to identify the most important tasks that will advance you towards your highest priority goal for this week. Block out chunks of time where you practice the concentrate, focus, depth method Raynor outlined. Be sure to take short breaks in between your blocks of concentration.
Let’s see how much we are able to accomplish!