On Sunday, I was closing all the tabs I had opened over weeks on my browser. They were 45 in total. If you live in Nigeria, you know that our Internet providers cannot be trusted and so in the spirit of multitasking, we open several browsers to save time, watch them load and probably get distracted by an urgent task. As I closed each tab, I realized, I had planned to do one thing or the other and never really got to it. Some of those tabs had been open for 3 weeks and had a task attached to them on my to-do list but 3 weeks after, they had not been done.
Earlier this year, I read Getting Work Done by HBR and I was determined to be more productive at my work. One of the key things frowned upon by HBR was Multitasking. I had read several articles that said Multitasking reduced productivity. My African brain rejected this. I had been raised to be a multitasker. As an African child, you are supposed to be able to do these things you know. it’s in your DNA. You are supposed to cook, wash plate and clean at the same time. You are also supposed to read your books and watch TV (I mean if you were a creatively cunning child like me). You can’t afford to miss your favorite show, neither can you afford to not do your assignment, so I did both.
However, as I closed the tabs, I evaluated my life. I had not been very productive. I had been very busy, very stressed but not as productive as I wanted. I did so many things at a time, randomly switched between tasks as soon as I remember the deadline. I had put pressure on myself and ended up only achieving one or two things daily. So, I made a mental note to start with my browser. I would only open five browsers at a time. If I needed to open another, I had to close one. I can only use one at a time, at most three, right?
So, today, Monday, I kept to the 5-tab rule and crossed three things off my to-do list before 9 am and my day started at 7:30 am. As soon as I am done writing this blog post, I would be crossing the fourth thing off my list. I feel less pressure, more productive and my brain space is clear. When I remember something I need to do that is not on my to-do list, I scribble it in my book (as part of my to-do list).
I think you should try it too and share your thoughts. Did it work for you?
If it did, post a picture of your 5 tabs and tag me on Instagram – @ms_einsteinette