The Power and Productivity of Planned Task-Switching

When there is too much work and not enough time, our go-to solution is multitasking—this is driven by the need to gain control and get on top of things.

We might think that multitasking allows us to process multiple tasks with equal focus and efficiency, but in reality, it is quite limited in humans. One multitasking activity that comes to mind is watching the TV, ironing and drinking a glass of wine, all of which take limited brain power. Our brains switch focus from one task to another, but at any single moment, they are only processing one task at a time.

In a chaotic world of constant change and moving targets, we do need to be agile, flexible and have a good dose of resilience.  To become fast, nimble and adaptive, a much more effective skill to develop is task-switching.  On the surface, it may appear the same as multitasking, but what makes task-switching successful is that it is underpinned by a rigorous planning and prioritisation process through technology and is not ad hoc.

A well-planned task-switching process can help us:

  • Adjust to changing circumstances and demands. This encourages flexibility in thinking and how we handle the numerous changes that pop up constantly throughout the day.
  • Maximise downtime instead of waiting for other information by skiving off to socials.  Take advantage of downtime leading to more tasks being completed or even better, engage in some thinking time!
  • Foster a more dynamic work environment where teams can move between different tasks managing resources more effectively.  This is great when teams are working on projects where pace is critical.
  • Manage energy and focus levels.   If you are a morning person it’s a great idea to schedule focused work to align with your energy; leave the routine tasks for energy dips.  Structure your work to take advantage of your natural productivity patterns.

Task-switching, as a planned process, is to keep productivity flowing by not losing sight of task completion of the right work.

The most important digital productivity processes to deliver effective task-switching benefits are –

Create a visible central workflow that contains work from various sources.  To achieve the value of task-switching there must be visibility of all actions.  If this visibility is absent, much time will be wasted trying to work out what tasks to switch!

Much task-switching is due to urgent requests, needing to drop what is being done for other actions.  A strong prioritisation process is required to clearly understand where the best investment of time is to be the priority.

Develop the skills to rapidly return to your workflow after a task-switching activity has been completed.  A visible task flow allows this to happen almost immediately.

TimeSmart equips users with processes and capabilities to leverage task-switching for increased effectiveness.  TimeSmart centralised workflow provides oversight of all tasks from different sources, supports prioritisation, and allows quick returns to planned tasks after interruptions.

Task-switching by itself is a great process that helps improve your productivity, yet combined with the abundance of productivity processes TimeSmart provides, a massive jump in both individual and team productivity can be achieved!

Don’t delay in contacting us for a TimeSmart demonstration. Every minute lost is a minute that will never be regained.

Speak soon,
Christine