In a previous blog post, I spoke about the importance of single-tasking. Single-tasking is so vital to how you go about your day. By choosing to focus on one task, we’re choosing to act with intention. And slowly, you will find yourself going about your tasks with clarity, gratitude and a calmer demeanour.

When I first chose to become a business owner as a self-confessed multi-passionate-new-project-starter, I struggled with trying to do #allthethings in my business.

However, I knew that life and business didn't need to feel like I had to grow five heads and eight arms in order to get everything I wanted done. My perspective and practice with consciousness and mindfulness played a huge role in guiding me towards doing business with grace, ease and intention.

This where single-tasking comes in. Something that surprised me when I choose to practise single tasking (in both my life and while running my design studio) was how I was able to let go of certain things. By going about my day with a sense of focus and commitment to single-task, I realised that I had developed a rather unhelpful habit of adding unnecessary stress and complexity. This was really coming from my desire for ultimate perfection (recovering perfectionist), greater "efficiency" and a fear of missing out.

However, when you try to do more than one thing at a time, it detracts your energy from focusing on the tasks that really matter. In a way, single-tasking is about creating a more minimalist lifestyle with more thought behind each action and decision.

Shifting from multi-tasking to single-tasking isn’t easy. Having worked with so many ambitious, business owners, I have seen how easy and comfortable it can be for my clients to subconsciously default back into multi-tasking mode. Especially because his habit has been so deeply ingrained in how we move about each day, something as simple as breakfast can be overrun by the urge to answer a work email whilst writing out content for our next Instagram post.

So, I’ve written down a list of thirteen tips for single-tasking that will serve as reminders to help you focus on one task at a time: 

  1. Eat breakfast without reading a book/newspaper/going online/checking your phone. Focus on savouring your meal. 
  2. When you drive or take public transport - simply sit and observe. You don't always need to be distracted by a book or by music.
  3. Watch a movie from start to finish without doing other things. I used to be so guilty of this - I would put a movie on and have it playing in the background while doing some else.
  4. Listen to an album from start to finish without multi-tasking. This isn't often something I but I find that I appreciate the music so much more when I am actually listening to it.
  5. Connect with the people you speak to - don't think about what you need to say next, just listen and respond based on what needs to come through.
  6. Carry a notebook to capture any ideas that arise instead of impulsively switching tasks to follow your curiosity.
  7. Get focused with 20 minute timed tasks using the Pomodoro method or commit to a deep work sprint of 60 minutes to help you get into a state of flow.
  8. Declutter your desk so that you don't have any distractions which may take your attention away from what you are really there to do.
  9. Keep only one browser window open at a time when you are on the internet. I always find I have 20 windows open so this is definitely a challenge for me!
  10. Switch off your phone for a day on the weekend and detox from technology. Get out in nature and enjoy the spaciousness of spending time intentionally without any notifications.
  11. Create boredom. Observe the impulse and emotions when we find ourselves with nothing to do. Become more aware of your craving to "take action" in order to distract yourself/
  12. Slow down your evening with night rituals. Do these one at a time and focus on slowing your actions down physically to bring yourself back into the present moment.
  13. Plan out your tasks for the day. Dedicate time to each task. Knowing that everything has already been scheduled in reduces overwhelm and the desire to squeeze as many tasks in as possible.

Single-tasking isn’t something that you’re going to be able to do overnight. After all, it’s so easy to let things we come across during the day get sucked up into the whirling hurricane of a chaotic to-do list. 

By choosing to take a step when you are going about your day-to-day in your business, focusing on one thing at a time and letting go of the things draining you energetically, you will find that your day flows so much easier!

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Jo ChunYan is a bespoke packaging & branding design studio for visionary founders. We acknowledges the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pays respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.