Time is the one thing all of us have in common.  Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, all of them have built successful companies and made huge personal fortunes while working with 24 hours each day, just like the rest of us.

The secret isn’t how much time you devote to your business – it’s how effectively you spend that time.  If you are like many of the business owners I know, you are trying to get more done each day than is even possible.  You end up multitasking in an effort to be more productive. But believe it or not, this is a mistake.

Plenty of recent studies have shown that human brains are at their most effective while focused on a single task.  Attempting to carry out multiple tasks forces your brain to constantly shift resources from one area to another, as opposed to devoting resources to a single problem until it is finished.  In fact, we are more effective while focusing on one task at a time, completing it, and moving on to the next.

How much more efficient could you be if, while you’re working on an inventory report for example, you turned off your cell phone and ignored your email?  No more stopping and starting, no more getting into a roll and then being interrupted – just intense focus until the job is done.

If this sounds unrealistic to you, you’re right. There’s no way to completely avoid distractions. But if you make it a goal to dramatically reduce multitasking, I think you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you are.

But don’t take my word for it!  Try it out for yourself.  Next time you sit down to begin a task, let your employees know that you are not to be disturbed unless there is an emergency and block out distractions like your phone and email.  Focus on your task and work until it’s done.  Then, come up for air, check in with your staff, glance at your inbox and see if there is anything needing your attention and then lock in on your next task.  Try this for a week and see how it goes!

What is your approach to multitasking? Do you find that it makes you more productive, or less? Do you have any advice on the subject to share with the rest of us? Share your thoughts in the comments below!