Context switching: Practical approaches to deal with work distractions

This is an ongoing discussion around context switching. Please look up the previous posts (or search for it) since all the posts have been scheduled. I had broken up a large blog post into several easy to understand contextual ideas. You can follow the original link here.

Practical suggestions for managing context switching:

  • Task batching: Grouping and performing similar tasks together. For example, answering all of your emails at the same time so you’re not bouncing back and forth between your work and your inbox all day.
  • Time blocking: Dividing your day into blocks, such as “meetings,” “email,” and “deep work”. This method goes a step further than task batching and requires you to physically block off time on your calendar for a designated task or group of tasks and only those tasks.
  • Theme days: Designating different days of the week for different types of tasks. This is a more extreme version of task batching and time blocking that allows you to focus on certain types of work on certain days and postpone other types of work that don’t fit with the day’s theme.
  • Time boxing: Setting a limit on how much time you spend on a task. Similar to time blocking, time boxing requires you to designate boxes of time for specific tasks. The twist is that you must finish the designated task within the time box. The time constraint creates a sense of urgency that sharpens your focus.
  • Turn off notifications from social media, email, and other distracting apps.
  • Keep programs you’re not using, like your email or team communications app, closed when you’re doing focused work, so it’s not as easy to toggle over if you attention starts to drift.

Hope this helps!

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