This thorough and convincing guide incorporates a rejuvenating mindfulness to encourage productivity and enjoyment of the everyday.
Management guru Devora Zack realized she hit the rock bottom of multitasking when she found herself balancing in a complex yoga position while editing book pages strategically placed on her mat. Certainly, we are all guilty of trying to kill two birds with one stone in the race to finish our endless to-do lists. But in Singletasking: Getting More Done, One Thing at a Time, Zack successfully proves that the more we try to juggle, the more we slow ourselves down, produce inferior work, and create more stress. With this book, she puts individuals back in control of their day instead of just reacting to endless stimuli.
She begins by unraveling myths of multitasking’s efficiency before providing real-life techniques to singletask. Lastly, she explains how to apply these singletasking methods to life outside the workplace. Throughout, Zack’s tone is impassioned, encouraging, and empathetic—after all, she freely admits to battling the urge to multitask herself.
A member of Cornell University’s School of Management faculty and a successful motivational speaker, Zack’s writing is enjoyably wry. After listing how multitasking can negatively impact quality of life, relationships, and “everything else that matters to you,” she quips, “No big deal.”
Zack’s outlined methods for singletasking make the book invaluable. For example, she suggests creating a “Parking Lot” list to quarantine distracting tasks that pop up. She also cautions against using a smart phone as an alarm clock to avoid interruptions by the phone’s myriad notifications of emails and texts. She also advocates clustering similar tasks, like emailing, to three deliberate times a day in order to avoid continual distraction.
As Zack observes, far too many of us suffer from “scattered brain syndrome.” We forget people’s names right after learning them, we have to reread passages over and over, and we end the day feeling overwhelmed by all the things left undone. Singletasking incorporates a rejuvenating mindfulness that not only lets us get more things done but lets us enjoy “beautiful days,” as Zack writes, “one sunbeam at a time.”
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