5 ways to boost your mood at work

Forget Valentine’s – the most important February holiday this year is Single Tasking Day, celebrated on the 22nd of the month.

Despite the popularity of ‘multi-tasking’, there’s a mountain of evidence showing that it simply isn’t the workplace panacea it’s hyped up to be.

In fact, multi-tasking is more likely to leave you exhausted, and to result in sub-par work that should have had your full attention (if it gets completed at all). Essentially, doing ten things at once isn’t actually efficient if you can’t focus on any of them.

Here are seven quick tips on focusing on just one task, so you can burn through your to-do list one thing at a time.

1. Switch off your electronics

Very, very few messages actually need your attention within minutes, and all those other distractions certainly don’t need your focus right away.

Remove the temptation and switch off your phone, close your email window, and only leave open the tabs you actually need right now. Tell yourself you can check your phone and emails again once you’ve completed the task.

2. Give yourself a deadline

Deadlines don’t only serve to give you anxiety – when managed properly, they can help you prioritise on what actually matters.

Set yourself your own deadline for the task at hand. While it has to be realistic so that you don’t rush the work, a ticking clock can help to remind you of how you’re spending your valuable time.

3. Prioritise prioritising

Before your day starts, make a list of all the tasks you will complete that day. Write it down, and make sure it is in order.

Be vigilant in sticking to each task at hand. Knowing that you will get to your other projects later will help you focus on the one in front of you, as you won’t be so inclined to jump between them. Not to mention, there’s no better feeling than seeing your to-do list get slowly crossed of item by item.

Your brain simply can’t function at its best for eight hours (or more) without breaks.

Even if it’s simply a chance to make a fresh cup of tea, or take a power walk around the block for fresh air, plan to give yourself breaks as needed to refresh your mind and avoid burning yourself out.

RELATED: Too much on the boil? Time for a quick tea break

4. Be selfish with your time

In an office environment, coworkers can (and will) sidle up to your desk with questions, requests, feedback, and the latest gossip.

Whether it’s a subtle hint with a set of headphones, or a literal glaring sign asking not to be disturbed, ensure your coworkers know that now is not a good time to chat, even if it’s work related.

5. Practice focus

If you’re used to jumping from one task to another, you may not easily make the switch to focusing purely on one thing for more than 10 minutes at a time.

In this case, it will take practice and patience to work yourself up to an hour of hard focus. Start with small time increments, and work your way up. You’ll quickly learn what distracts you, and you will need to use the above tips and your own strategies to avoid those distractions next time.

6. Set reminders

It might sound distracting, but it can be helpful to set a light alarm to go off every 10 minutes or so to remind you that you should still be focused on your task.

If you find this technique to be annoying – switch it off. If you find the light does remind you to go back to what you’re meant to be focusing on, keep it.

Single Tasking Day reminds us to focus on just one task, and to do it well.

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