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Focusing on a particular project is crucial to succeeding, whether it’s writing an email, report or strategic planning. Multitasking tempts us every day and threatens to take away this focus. Often, there’s so much to do that it seems impossible to get all of the tasks done one at a time. However, working this way often causes errors or just sloppy work, especially with writing. Worse, it leads to inefficiency and procrastination.

Thankfully, there’s a voice in my head that reminds me just to focus on and complete the one project.

Mono-tasking isn’t easy–you have to consciously focus on one thing and tune everything else out. With some diligence, this becomes easier and easier. Here are a few ways to improve focus:

  1. Set a timer for 50 minutes and focus on only one task throughout this time. Once the timer goes off, take a 10-minute break, then spend 5 minutes evaluating what you’ve accomplished and what still needs to be done. This technique is explained in detail in The Wealthy Freelancer.
  2. When working on a computer, open only the documents and the pages you need to complete a particular project.
  3. Block time every day to answer emails. If you receive lots of messages in the morning, set aside 50 minutes to respond in the morning. Doing this will improve your efficiency on other projects, and the thoughtfulness of your responses. When working on other projects, remember that your email will still be there when you’re done.
  4. When you feel rattled by the amount of tasks and projects that you need to accomplish, take some time to plan them out. Make sure you’re spending your time wisely and working on high-priority projects.

When we make an effort to focus on one task at a time, we write better, produce better products, serve clients better, and solve problems faster. With fewer distractions, we accomplish more.

How about you? How do you tune out the endless stream of information, emails, and other distractions? How do you keep yourself from multitasking? What are your tips for mono-tasking?

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