Studies have shown that the human brain is not wired to multi-task. Though you might often accomplish multiple tasks at once, this could have unwanted effects on your brain processes. The best practice is to focus on one task at a time.
Why Focusing is Important
When you focus on a single task, your brain can process things more easily, allowing you to complete what you need to do faster and with fewer errors. Think of it in terms of why you shouldn’t text or even take calls while you’re driving. Doing two things at once divides your attention, forcing your brain to map out two, often entirely distinct tasks, at once. While you are on your phone, your alertness to what’s happening on the road is diminished, increasing the chance of getting into an accident.
So, if you don’t multi-task, how will you get all that work off your desk?
Get Things Organised
Most people can stay at the top of their game when they work in a highly organised environment. This not only helps you, it will also help your co-workers just in case you are out for the day and need someone to get something off your desk.
There are two ways to get started: clear everything off your desk or take it drawer by drawer. Make sure you have bins ready for things that you need to discard and have containers prepared for things you will keep. A portable printer can help you label each container to remind you and let everyone know where each item belongs. Carefully identifying and properly labelling storage bins and the like not only increase efficiency and productivity but also contribute to workplace safety, especially if you work in a factory, warehouse or laboratory.
Keep Your System Simple
Create a system that’s easy to follow. This allows you to stick with it no matter how hectic your schedule might become. The week or so after you’ve finished organising is likely to be the toughest: as you get busier, you’ll be tempted to just let things fall into disarray and disorganisation again. However, if you are able to resist, your system of keeping things where they should be will become a habit and will ultimately help you work more quickly and more efficiently.