If you consider yourself a “multi-tasker” and often reply “crazy busy” when people ask you how you’re doing, then you should listen up. A recent analysis from the business research firm Basex, estimates that extreme multi-tasking costs the US more than $650 billion a year in lost productivity.

So what can we do to minimize multi-tasking and get more done? We recently came across two sources for ideas:

1. The Power of Focus for Women, a book by Fran and Les Hewitt, presents 10 focusing strategies. Many of the ideas are not just for women. Les adds a man’s perspective at the end of each chapter.

2. Business advisor and author, Timothy Ferris of The 4-Hour Workweek. Now his philosophy is definitely Gen-Y – and many of us baby boomers consider it radical. And yet, as we read through his ideas and blog at the fourhourworkweek.com, there were several very practical ideas we can implement in addition to some from the Hewitts.

In addition to these written resources, here are a few other anti-multi-tasking ideas to consider:

1. Outsource what you can. No matter what your income, there are things that are worth the cost to have someone else do versus the time and energy it would take you to complete. It is amazing how inexpensively some things can get done. Each time we add an out-source I think, “Why did I ever do that for this long?” Virtual Assistants are extremely reasonable and can help so much!

2. Prioritize each morning. Then address the most important items first.

3. Set time aside for you and the things that you are passionate about. At the Sales Expert Summit last month, Danita Bye said that “just because I am competent in something, doesn’t mean I am passionate about it.” If you aren’t passionate about something, why are you trying to multi-task with it?

4. Delegate. This is different from outsourcing. Delegating means it is someone at home or work that you can assign a responsibility or activity to…and not pay them extra to do it!

5. Minimize the number of times your emails are received, both on your computer and on the hand-held. Alice Kemper schedules hers to only be received every 60 minutes. A lot of people thought she was nuts. But guess what? She now is more in control of her time and schedule. Unless we have life-or-death matters being emailed to us, why do we need to be interrupted every 3-5 minutes?

For all you multi-taskers, this is a lot to consider – you aren’t going to change your habits overnight. Choose just one of these tips to work on, and see yourself go from crazy busy to just productive!


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