How to stop Task Switching without Fighting It

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Did you ever sit down for 8 hours to work only to realize that you were exhausted by so little? This huge task was assigned to you, but you spent most of your time switching browser tabs, checking emails, running errands and other urgent tasks.
That huge task is often put aside and rescheduled. You lose the chance to work on the next great thing.
Task switching, also known as context switching, refers to the act of switching between tasks or actions. It gives the impression that we are busy and deeply involved in work, but in reality, true progress is hampered by so many things competing for our attention.
Task switching can have serious consequences on our ability to complete work. Our brains are unable to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. This causes us to become more stressed, our reaction time is slower, we miss important information and our work quality decreases.
Task switching is costly. It also takes time and effort that could have been used to move projects forward.
Is it possible to eliminate task switching?
In an interview with Fast Company Professor Gloria Mark from the Department of Informatics, University of California shared that half of the tasks we switch between are due to “self-interruption.”
If we assume that task switching is caused in part by self-interruptions, then the other half would be due to external interruptions that cannot be controlled.
It’s easy to suggest that task switching should be stopped. However, many people argue (check out the comments section of this post)that most instances of task shifting are external and it’s important that we address this.
This was helpful in understanding my tendency to task change. I want to create an environment that minimizes interruption (i.e. I want to create an environment that is free from interruptions (i.e., no noise, notifications), but if my children need my attention, I can’t just send them off to work.
I might lose 40% of my productivity but I’m willing to give it up if it means my children are well taken care of.
The traditional methods to avoid task switching (i.e. The classic methods to prevent task switching (i.e., do one thing at once) still work. However, accepting task switching as part of our lives and learning to accept it may help us find more creative ways to manage it.
Switching between planned and unplanned tasks
Not all task switching can be counterproductive.
Professor Mark points out that interruptions are beneficial “if it matches the topic of your current task.” If you are working on a large project and your 15:00 meeting will provide all the information you need, then the switch can be planned and beneficial.
Another example of task switching that can be beneficial is allowing your brain to “be still” after long hours of work. Your brain can spot solutions and/or discover them by leaving blank spaces.
It is unplanned, unrelated task switching that causes you to lose productivity, stress, or lack of direction.
You will be able get more done if you minimize unplanned task switching.
Focus: The best way to tackle task switching
Task switching is an interruption. The best way to manage it, however, is to improve your ability to focus.
Although we may live in a world that is constantly changing, our focus is something we can strengthen and build to fight these interruptions.
You can reduce stress by being able to focus and maintain your focus.
Here are X tips and strategies that will help you to keep your focus.
How to increase focus
Get enough sleep. I found that getting enough sleep is essential.