I have been writing a lot about how I believe multitasking is to blame for some of my feelings of being overwhelmed. It is one thing to write out your beliefs but another to figure out a way to put them into practice. So, I decided to come up with my own “practical advice” list for how to cut down on the multi-tasking that was beginning to suck the joy out of my life. I focused mostly on how to cut down on interruptions, simplify, avoid things that bring me out of focus and send my mind whirling in too many directions away from the task at hand. If you have more ideas, I’d love to hear them!
1) Delete the Facebook app from your phone. The Facebook app is a one-click way to travel through the lives of everyone you know. Your BFFs, family, competitors, far-flung frenemies…taking the app off your phone means that you are aware of moving through your own life instead of piggybacking on someone else’s.
2) Turn off all “push notifications” for any apps you have. When you go to your apps on a smart phone, there is usually a place where you can decide if you want to receive “push messages” from them. These are the little numbers in the right hand corner of an app’s icon on your phone luring you to open it up and take look. Just say no!
3) Unsubscribe from any email newsletters (unless you really love it) that email you every day. Many email newsletters now have an option to receive weekly summaries. Who wants to hear from anyone who isn’t family or their BFF every day of their lives? Really who??
4) Stop the bleep bloops. Go to the settings on your phone and stop getting beeps or ringtones for non-necessary things, such as Tweets, new mail, Facebook posts, texts.
5) Don’t spend a lot of time curating your online “persona.” Sometimes when someone switches images all the time, posts numerous times every day (unless it is their job), and constantly has something to say I always wonder….what is this person avoiding in their offline life?
6) Proactively say NO. No I don’t want to join for more offers, no I don’t want to get an email every day from you trying to sell me something I can’t afford. No, I don’t want your “time suck” email about incredibly cute things that are definitely really cute but it is not like I don’t have fingers, and can’t find really cute things when I have the time.
7) Be aware of what your problems are and work on fixing them. I get a lot of “Life hack” style emails but they are not solving for the problems I actually have now. They are solving for problems I wish I had — like the best way to pack for a trip to Bali, or how to train your cat to enjoy sailing on your yacht. If you aren’t going to Bali or have a yacht it just is the wrong information at the wrong time. Use search instead.
8) Figure out your level of FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. I have a pretty low FOMO, meaning that I don’t need the latest gadgets or need to read/see news as it happens. I am not the person who has an extremely “in time, on time” relationship with the world. If you have high FOMO, you might want to go without for a few days and figure out how much of that news you really enjoyed and remembered. I hate the feeling of having read a bunch of articles online and then not remembering any of them– to me it is a sign of FOMO.
9) Avoid clickbait. I wrote an article on that here.
10) Try to keep a tab on your tabs. I am a tab-freak with often over 10 tabs open. Some of them I never get to and they are open for days. Know when something is low priority and just close the tab already!
Thanks for taking the time to read this guide and please let me know if it helps you manage your multitasking. It was definitely fun to try to “boil down” what I have learned in wanting to function with less information overload. Deep breath…