How to multitask less to create more joy

We’ve all heard that we need to be good at multitasking in order to be successful.  And for a long time I was a believer in this idea.

I always bought into this idea that “multitasking is good” because I watched people who were good at juggling many things at once move up the corporate ladder.

In my days in brand management, I had at least 5 or 6 projects moving at once in addition to all the daily meetings and data I had to analyze.  I worked hard to keep everything going and won praises from my colleagues for my hard work.

But instead feeling good about moving up the corporate ladder, I ended up feeling burnt out, disheveled and confused.  I didn’t understand why.  I started to doubt myself and my ability to keep up the pace.

Our society values hard work and the idea of multitasking, but at what expense?

We all have this limited amount of brain capacity or space.  When we have to work on different projects or things, our brains have a hard time focusing.

Many times I found myself trying to focus on one project only to get sidetracked by another project.  Things just kept getting in the way.  Then instead of working and finishing one project and crossing it off my list, I had 5 or 6 projects to keep track of.  As I worked, the list grew because each project had it’s own unique challenges. My brain was being over worked.

Does this sound familiar?

Like a computer, I had too many programs open and at the end of each day I felt drained.

I also had dreams of creating my own business and tried to do some of it on the side. But by the time I got home from work, I just wanted to sit on my couch and watch mindless TV shows or read my People Magazine.  My brain was maxed out!

Towards the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011, I realized I had to make a choice.  I was at a fork in the road staring down two very different paths.  It was between my happiness and juggling two different career paths.

I chose my happiness and joy.  I quit so I could focus on making my own dream a reality.

I’m not saying you have to quit your job to be happy.

However, you can make a conscious decision on what you do so you don’t feel so burnt out.  We don’t have to multitask and can choose to create a lifestyle that doesn’t feel like we’re juggling 20 balls in the air hoping that one doesn’t fall.

Because life is about choices and making ones that work for us.

Here are some ways to multitask less so you can create more joy!

1. It’s ok to say “no”.  Take a look at all the projects you have going on.  Remove any unnecessary balls in the air! Are there any projects that you can let go of?  Really think about which projects or tasks are critical.  By weeding out some things, you can create space in your life to focus.  If you are applying this principle at your job, you will be able to make a greater impact on your company because you are able to solve bigger and crucial problems vs. a lot of little fires or issues.  If you’re applying this to your life, saying no will help you create space to focus on  on doing things that matter to you.

2. Tackle one project at a time. So often we try to do it all and at once.  Look at your list of projects.  Can you  focus on one thing and stagger the rest so you’re not juggling all your projects at the same time?  Once you figure out what you want to focus on and when, give yourself dedicated time to finish the project. Try not to start on another project until you complete the project you are working on.  Also creating dedicated times to focus on a project is key because your mind doesn’t have to keep on trying to switch gears.  You will feel less drained and happier because you are not using as much energy to move between projects and because you’ll actually be able to check something off your list.

3. Ask for help.  Sometimes we want to do it all ourselves. But we can only physically, mentally and emotionally do so much.  Rather than pushing through, see if someone can help you with certain tasks or projects.  When I was moving back to California, I hired a personal organizer to help me pack.  She didn’t necessarily do all the work for me, but she helped me figure out the best way to pack and motivated me to complete my task.  It was awesome because I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to finish packing and could focus on other things like spending time with my friends before leaving town.

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About the JOY Coach

Minling Chuang

Minling is the founder of {the JOY depot} and is on a mission to help new entrepreneurs start their dream business. She spent many years working on branding strategies for top brands like Lean Cuisine & Nestle Toll House and launching multimillion dollar products. Now Minling's passion is to help people create profitable businesses they love! She is also a Kundalini Yoga teacher in Venice, CA. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. And if you want to start your own business, book a clarity session with Minling.

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