How to stop multitasking and stay focused

Oct 18, 2023
Natalie sitting on kitchen counter with phone in her hand, smiling at the camera

In today's world, we're often expected to multitask so that we get as much done as we can in the shortest amount of time possible. While some people are rock stars at multitasking, it's ultimately not effective and can cause burnout. In fact, there are a lot of negative effects of multitasking, so take this as official permission to not feel like you need to do everything all at once! Here are some ways to stay focused rather than get lost balancing a million to dos. 

Practice single-tasking

You might be giggling at this one. I mean, have you ever heard someone mention "single-tasking" before? Stay with me though! What this means is giving your full attention to one task without switching to other tasks until it's done. It limits distractions, and it allows you to completely dive into the work of one task, leaving you with higher-quality results. 

Time blocking

Time blocking is one of my favorite productivity methods. When you implement time blocking, you are creating focused work intervals. For example, at my 9-5, I usually time block like this: 

  • The first hour of every day is reserved for admin work, such as answering emails and Slack messages
  • The next couple of hours before lunch are reserved for content work, such as writing marketing emails and reviewing metrics
  • The rest of the day after lunch is open for meetings with colleagues 

This gives me focused, uninterrupted time for each "category" of tasks, if you will. You can use this method at work, like in my example, or at home, where you time block for cooking, errands, family time, etc. 

Set clear goals and prioritize tasks

We all know that setting goals is key in productivity so you always have something to track against. So, at the beginning of each day, set clear goals and priorities. Make sure you identify the most important tasks you need to get done that day and set aside uninterrupted time for them. Starting each day like this ensures you are staying on track with what truly needs to get done. By focusing on one task at a time, you have more potential to create high-quality work!

Practice mindfulness

With a lack of mindfulness often comes burnout, anxiety, and overwhelm. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your surroundings and behavior – what's going well, what's lacking, and so on. There are a ton of different ways to practice mindfulness, whether that be deep breathing, taking breaks, meditating, etc. These techniques will help calm your mind, get you back on track, and improve your ability to focus. 

Limit distractions

You probably see an underlying theme throughout this blog – limiting distractions! Minimizing distractions (i.e. turning off notifications, setting social media app limits, or even putting your phone away) is crucial when it comes to fully focusing on a task. These unnecessary distractions can interrupt your workflow and prevent true concentration. To make this a little easier for you, you can simply allocate time throughout your day to check social media or respond to those messages.

While you might think multitasking is the best way to increase productivity, it really holds you back from putting forth your best results. So, practice these behaviors and see how much both your concentration and productivity increase!

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