How to actually start single-tasking (& make huge progress in your business)
Ok, I need you to stay with me for a minute. Which might be hard, because we’re all juggling sooo many responsibilities. Side-hustling, day job, mom-life, actually trying to socialize and fit in some self-care… You probably have a million things going on all. the. freaking. time. But really, multitasking isn’t getting you closer to your goals. Instead, it’s costing you a lot in terms of productivity, energy, and peace of mind.
We’ve been told that the best way to measure success is by looking at how many things we can “do” at once. Actually the best way to measure success is by looking at how efficiently you can get your most important tasks done. And I’m going to speak some hard truth here, because I know that all of us organization obsessed over-achievers need to hear it: multitasking is NOT efficient.
If you want to get serious about conquering your goals for your pro organizing business (and avoid burnout along the way), you need to learn to single-task. Once you learn this skill, you’ll be a magical unicorn of productivity. 🦄
Why multitasking isn’t as efficient as you think it is
Have you ever gone into total panic mode and tried to take on your whole to-do list at once? You think doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that will help you stop feeling overwhelmed. But this is simply totally untrue. Every time you switch between tasks, you spend a ton of your super valuable mental energy. Whether you realize it or not, those transitions are costing you big time. That’s why so many project management systems are built on the idea of focusing on one task from start to finish.
I’m going to give you some nerdy data to back me up. Researchers have found that distractions lasting 2.8 seconds doubled the errors students made on tests. And you’re not just working on multiple-choice exams anymore, lady. You’re building a real professional organizing business to turn a profit. That means your errors could cost you serious money.
Single-tasking is like a big dose of post-yoga-class calm for your brain. You know exactly what you need to do, what steps it will take to get there, and you give yourself permission to let go of everything else. While you’re single-tasking, it’s not just ok to put put everything else on the back burner… it’s essential. And while that might sound scary at first, it’s actually super freeing. It means that you have made an intentional choice to get a task done (like totally DONE… off your plate forever), and you don’t have to worry about anything else. When I’m in single-tasking mode, there’s a lot of frozen Amy’s burritos and yoga pants because I’m the boss of me and I take serious action to move my business forward.
...But what if I love multitasking?
I bet you do. Our brains get an emotional high when we multi-task. It feels good, like you’re almost getting away with something, you know? You feel like you’ve found a way to beat the system and squeeze more good stuff into less time.
But that little warm-fuzzy feeling isn’t going to make your business profitable. Taking action on your important business tasks is. And you’re not really taking action if you’re jumping all over the place. Retraining your brain to focus on one thing a time can be hard (trust me, I am as addicted to multitasking as you are)... But you can learn to do it. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you stay on track and seriously improve your productivity.
1. Make an actionable plan for your business every month
Jumping around and working a little on a bunch of half-done projects can mean you’re actually at 0% overall “done.” Subscribe to the Studio Startup Kit to get a new planner for your business each month. I designed the monthly planning process based on SCRUM project management principles, and it will make sure that you get each task 100% finished before moving on to the next one.
And if the thought of putting something on hold while you single task makes you anxious, it’s ok. I’ve set aside space for you to put next month’s projects, so you can jot down all those fabulous ideas as they come to you. You’ll know they are there and waiting for you when you’ve finished this month’s plans.
2. Focus on the bling 💎
And by bling, I mean diamond-level tasks. What’s a diamond-level task? These are the things you can work on that will make you money. You can download a productivity guide at the end of this post to help you identify which tasks are the blingy ones you should be focusing on. (It also helps you identify gold star tasks ⭐️, which help you automate your business, and one-time tasks that you need to do, delete, or delegate. Think of it as the ultimate pro organizer productivity system.)
There are always so many things you could be doing to work on your business… but not all of them are something you should be doing. If you make sure to finish your diamond-level tasks every month, you’ll know that you’re taking real action to make your business more profitable. That knowledge makes it so much easier to set aside the other projects you just don’t have time for.
3. Be super intense about protecting your energy
If you’ve been hanging out on my YouTube channel for a while, you know that I think work/life balance is a big fat myth. Especially as a one-woman business running your pro organizing side-hustle by yourself, you can’t totally separate your work life and real life. If things get crazy at home, it’s going to affect how you work on your business (especially true for all of us organization-obsessed ladies who can’t stand when things get chaotic!).
You need to protect your energy levels. Do whatever you have to do to make sure you can show up and get the work done. Be realistic about when you have the most energy, what you need to do to maintain it, and how you’re going to make sure you don’t waste it on low-level tasks. Maybe you need a weekly yoga class, protein bars at your desk, or a quiet house between 4-6 p.m. Only you know how you get your best work done. If you’re feeling low on energy to run your business, get real-life tips from other pro organizers here. (Psst… there’s space to plan all of this out in your monthly business planner).
Ready to be a unicorn?
Download the productivity system workbook below. Then, I want to know exactly which task you’ve committed to completing next. You can leave me a comment, or share your progress in the Pro Organizer Studio Facebook group. I’m here to cheer you on as you cross off your to-do list... one thing at a time.