August 16, 2023

Context Switching: The Silent Killer of Productivity

READ Time -

Context switching is when you constantly shift between tasks and thoughts. Writing for a minute, then checking email. Strategizing that new product...right after you send this text.

This is the silent killer of a productive day.

I'm surprised by how frequently people fall into this trap. Is it the lure of multitasking, or the desire to feel busy?

I'm not quite sure, but I know how important it is to avoid this killer mistake altogether.

What I've learned is that dividing your attention between several things at once does way more harm than good. While you might feel like you're being efficient, constantly switching back and forth leads to a lack of focus, wasted time, and even daily burnout.

And I can assure you that the "5-minute" email you're writing is going to throw you off of your game for 30 minutes.

I value focus. And I believe in dedicating my time and effort to one task at a time.

I'm not saying that my way is the only way to get things done. But my experience has convinced me that concentrating on one task at a time has a ton of benefits: greater clarity, depth of thought, and the ability to really bring your "A Game".

Here's how I proactively tackle the problem of context switching:

  1. Prioritize tasks: I use a color-coded calendar to clearly set up time between writing, social media, and family time.
  2. Set boundaries: I have a distraction-free environment because my computer and phone are in do-not-disturb mode 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  3. Use tools wisely: I use a plugin to block Twitter trends and any other website that I'm likely to wander off to during my prime hours of focus.
  4. Embrace breaks: I take deliberate breaks every 60-90 minutes to recharge and maintain my focus.

This very simple approach has brought me a ton of joy and success in my work.

It's been instrumental in helping me reclaim time, energy, and passion in what I do. Maybe it's not the norm, but it makes sense to me.

Of course, you don't have to take my word for it.

Try it for yourself and see how it feels to work without the constant interruption of context switching.

Here's a more in-depth guide to getting past context switching in your day-to-day.

Perhaps you'll find a new way to approach your work, and your output will be clearly of higher quality.

Maybe it won't and you'll return to bouncing all over the place each day.

But give it a shot - it might just make all the difference in your day.

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