I’ll admit, I fail at this a lot. But each time I come back to this lesson, I’m reminded how powerful it is.

Don’t do ten things at once.

Work on one thing at a time. Or two. But never more than two.

In a well-known graph about productivity and multi-tasking (from a 1990’s Harvard Study by Steven C.Wheelwright and Kim B.Clark), two researchers showed the benefits of multitasking – but only in situations where the subject worked on two things at once. Any more than two, and productivity declined. A lot.

In an NPR story about multitasking and performance (it’s a little over a year old, but still relevant) – they discuss the impairment associated with multitasking, revealing that people who multitask actually do far worse on performance than people who eliminate distractions and focus their attention on one or two things.

Do less. It really is doing more.

Simplify. Work on one thing at a time – or two.


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