Forget multitasking – staying focused is the key to getting things done, experts say. Many so-called time-saving strategies haven’t delivered on their promise, among them cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail and the whole concept of multitasking. You can’t add more hours to the day, but you can reclaim wasted or poorly managed time. Consider these tactics:
PUT INTERRUPTIONS ON HOLD
A cell phone becomes a time-wasting distraction when it allows socializing to push its way into what could be productive work time or equally important down time.
Chicago-based business and sales consultant Jeffrey Mayer advises his clients to limit phone conversations that intrude on their work or family life: Use your caller ID and voice mail to screen calls.
Waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting in the lobby for appointments and meetings and walking to and from the parking lot are perfect times for using the cell, even if it is just for chit chat.
MODERATE THE MESSAGING
E-mailing and text messaging while you’re writing a report, conducting research on the Net or attending a meeting may feel like productive multitasking, but you may be wasting time by doing too many tasks poorly instead of one task well.
Marcia Ramsland, author of "Simplify Your Life," quotes psychologist David Meyer, whose research indicates that each time you let yourself be interrupted by reading and replying to an e-mail or a text message, you have to mentally "warm up" again to resume your original task at your previous level of productivity. Meyer says this can take three to 15 minutes. That’s time wasted.
Send and respond to e-mails and text messages in batches, all at once, as a dedicated task unto itself. This allows you to more efficiently compose your messages, saving time.
Woman’s Day magazine
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