Wow! I did not expect to take a two week break from blogging here, but health issues and seasonal expectations got in the way! I am happy to be back!
I am, for the most part, doing very well with single-tasking. It is very rewarding! On the days when I stick to single tasking, my productivity, mindfulness, and sense of peace all sky rocket! One of my challenges has been the internet. The internet is designed for multi-tasking. You see a link of interest, and you click it. You want to follow up to an article; you start writing an email. If you are like me, there are always plenty of blog entries bouncing around in your head for your diverse blogs. Some people (it often seems to me that those are younger people who have grown up using the internet their entire lives) seem to do fine with this multi-tasking environment, but I need to keep it to a minimum.
Here are some things that have helped me to succeed!
1. I keep a notebook next to my keyboard at all times. This notebook has separate lists related to various internet things that I do each on their own page. For example, there is a page listing things that my kids have been up to, and there is a page with ideas that I have for this blog. When I have an idea, I jot it on the appropriate page. When I need an idea, I open up to the appropriate page and see what's there. This keeps my mind free from clutter and keeps my ideas organized with out pulling me too far off my current task.
2. I use my bookmark function liberally! If I see a link to a sight that interests me, I bookmark it instead of perusing it. Then I set aside a time for looking at bookmarks. I might not get to everything, but the truth is that everything doesn't matter. I can stay on my current task rest assured that at a future time my task will be browsing the sites that interest me.
3. I set aside a specific time for email. I finish dealing with it then, archiving anything that might be important in the future. Archiving is quicker than filing, and I can quickly find anything I might need with a search function. Answering anything needing an answer during my email task keeps my inbox from getting cluttered with things that I will reply to some day. Because I have a specific time for my email task, I do not need to check my email frequently thoughtout the day.
4. I prioritize and organize my blog reading. Like most bloggers, I enjoy reading other people's blogs. This can get way out of hand. The first thing I did to control this was to make sure that any blog I read is serving a purpose in my life. I read blogs of people I know to keep up on their lives. I read some blogs because they are entertaining and make me happy. I read some blogs because they are community building, and I have an online relationship with the writer. Some blogs make the cut because they provide me with information. I keep a personal blog on livejournal, and most of my closest blog friends blog there so one of my blog reading tasks is to read my livejournal friend list. I use rososo to keep my other blog feeds organized. I like rososo because it has a clean non-cluttered look, and it is very easy for me to use! These two tasks take care of blog reading, and I remember to keep them there and not let them leak into the rest of my life.
5. I keep important/urgent things on my desktop, but I don't over use this! Sometimes there is something that I don't want to pull me away from my current task, but that I know I have to take care of right away. I put those things on my computer desktop. This is a good reminder to me to not let them go. If you use this system, it is easy to let it get out of hand categorizing everything as important and urgent! I keep this from happening by following one simple rule. If I don't deal with something in 24 hours, it wasn't really that urgent, and it gets moved. Also if my desktop starts to look too cluttered something is definitely wrong!
I hope some of my own tips can help someone else to stay on task and productive online. It is very important to remember to stay flexible throughout the whole process. There are going to be times when you are going to have to deviate from your task, but just remember to get back on track as quickly as possible, and you should be well on your way to an increase in productivity!