The Art of Single-Tasking

The Art of Single-Tasking

Single Tasking Day evolved as a form of rebellion against the global obsession with multi-tasking habits. Whilst heralded as being the only way of getting as much done in as many areas as possible in one day, the act of multi-tasking has actually been shown to cause our work to be sub-par, less productive and leave us even more exhausted than we could have been if we had just concentrated on one task. There’s something about focusing in and cutting out all other distractions that has the power to let us perform at our very best.

My brain has too many tabs open!

brain floor matt with my brain has too many tabs open text on it

Single-tasking is a long-forgotten art, it is almost frowned upon as being ineffective and a sign of ineptitude. Whereas the ability to multi-task is the mainstay of job ads! The phrase ‘a strong ability to multi-task’ is like a badge of honour as we all endeavour to get as many things done in a day as possible.

However, research over the past 25 years has shown multitasking is ineffective as the brain cannot fully focus when attempting to carry out numerous tasks at once. Think of it this way – how many times have you been frustrated by your computer freezing when you’ve got too many files open? Well, the brain is the same – too much going on and our minds can shut down or slowdown.

The reality is we’re not actually ‘multi-tasking’ or working on things simultaneously, we’re actually toggling back and forth between jobs, causing us to restart and refocus over and over again. This dilutes concentration, exposes us to more distractions and errors, presents delays and basically takes longer to reach the finish line – it results in a pile of half-finished tasks, leaving us exhausted and demoralised.

What is single tasking?

Single Tasking Day encourages us to embrace focusing on one job and one job only. It’s all about the art of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimising potential interruptions and distractions until that task is done, or an allotted time period has ended. It involves reviewing a task, breaking it down into parts, completing each part thoroughly with undivided attention.

Basically - prioritise – ignore everything else until you complete it!!

Benefits of single tasking

  • Better focus resulting in a quality outcome and better energy management
  • Increases accuracy, productivity and efficiency in doing a job
  • Makes you feel less stressed and allows you to enjoy your work
  • It’s good for the brain – once you’ve sat with the initial discomfort of monotasking, you will find it actually unlocks the creative side of your brain and bring better results

How to honour Single Tasking Day

Declutter your workspace

tidy and organised desk workspace

Physical and digital clutter is a distraction. Take a look around your workspace. Do you have an in-tray overflowing with paperwork, a home screen full of post-it notes, reminder notifications buzzing away and a desk cluttered with used mugs, empty wrappers and redundant stationery? If so, before even considering monotasking spend a bit of time decluttering. Having less ‘stuff’ around you creates more time, space and energy. Having the physical space around you makes it easier to find the essentials you need to get a task done, it also gives you breathing space to think, helping to subside feelings of stress and overload.

Home fragrance helps

Apsley Luxury Santorini Collection
Apsley Luxury Santorini Collection

As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog “The Importance of Home Fragrance” zoning a home has become particularly important in the last couple of years as a home has become a place to live, work, exercise, socialise and relax. Home fragrance will help take the pressure off you and your home to perform all these roles.

For your workspace, we would suggest you go for soft herbal fragrances or citrus scents to help boost concentration and alertness. They are less dominant but enduring so will carry you through your hours of work.

Our Scented Space 200ml Lemongrass Ginger Room Diffuser will invigorate you and your work space with the zesty vigour of lemongrass, bursting with ginger, pine & thyme. This energising scent will gently awaken your mind, and the beauty of an aroma diffuser is the fragrance is constant and doesn’t need any looking after during your working hours! But remember for a cheeky burst of perfume just flip the reed diffuser sticks for an instant fragrant hit that will take you through the rest of your day.

If you prefer to burn a scented candle – especially good in times of stress as the flickering flame can calm the mind – you could try our Abode Aroma 220g Limone Olive Vervain Bevelled Crystal Candle with its vibrant fresh scent of Japanese Kabuso blended with crispy lemony verbena for a refreshing, inspiring and zesty scent.

For an instant zjoosh of fragrant energy blast a spray of our Apsley 100ml Vesuvius Luxury Room Mist Uplifting and effervescent, Vesuvius is bursting with fragrance notes of sparkling citrus, peach and vanilla, erupting like a blazing volcano and will get all your productive work juices going!

Set your priorities or a time frame for the day

personal organisers, pink postit notes on a desk

By planning ahead we can see what we need to do, when it needs to be done by and what order we need to do it in. This will lead to less pressure, reduce the likelihood of forgetting things and possibly provide more scope for planning all-important free time.

Review the tasks that are on your mind, prioritise them then work through the list ONE at a time, selecting the most pressing first. Concentrate on resolving it on that day, or within a certain timeframe before moving on to the next task. Bask in the glory (and relief) of getting that task done!

Ditch the smartphone

traditional phone

We are all so reliant on phones, yet ironically, it’s the main thing that causes distractions, slows us down and forces us to multitask. Step away from your smartphone for a day – yes it might hurt, but there is such a thing as good pain and you might feel the benefit from the separation.

This disconnection isn’t only important for working hours but also for quality time with family and friends. Have you ever looked around a family gathering or restaurant and noticed how many people are distracted by mobile phones? Have you yourself been tempted to glance at your mobile phone and have the urge to immediately respond to a message even though you are mid-conversation with an actual person right in front of you? Some social venues now urge patrons to place mobile phones in a box. You could do the same at home and ban phones around the dinner table, encouraging everyone to monotask – by being in the present and having conversation with each other without disruption!

One for the memory bank

Abode Aroma Crystal Collection
Abode Aroma Crystal Collection

It’s inevitable whilst working on one a task, new ideas or tasks will pop into your mind and risk distracting you. Have a pad to hand or to-do list open on your computer so you can jot them down for evaluation and completion at another time.

You deserve a break

clock and calendar on pink desk

Set an alarm to remind you when it’s breaktime! Spending too much time on a task can mean loss of focus and waning productivity. Use the breaks to stretch, grab a glass of water, go out for a blast of fresh air, light a scented soy candle!!! Get the blood flowing back to your brain to increase creativity and energy.

In conclusion

Remember, multi-tasking is no longer a badge of honour! Don’t be tempted to give into the social pressures and expectations of others to multitask.

Take a deep breath, declutter your work area, have a schedule review, plan, prioritise and go for it - focusing on one task at a time. Find value in slowing down – let simplicity help you reconnect with yourself and what really matters to you and your deadlines!

Let’s light a candle & be less busy but more effective together!

Team Aspley xxx

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