Don't Multitask, DO TAATIRS Instead

I didn’t think this was all that big a deal, but friend Jonna has insisted that I must blog about it.

I’m trying to quit multitasking. Instead, I’m trying something new to Get Things Done: DO-TAATIRS. It stands for “Do One Thing At A Time In Rapid Succession.”

Basically, I’ve found that multitasking is often a horrible way for me to try and get lots of little tasks done quickly. I have two monitors at work. When I have more than two windows open, honestly, I am not getting more work done. I’m cycling from window to window, often stressing out and trying to figure out where my attention needs to be.

So instead, I pick ONE thing, and work at it to completion, or as near completion as I’m capable of at the moment. Then I move on to the next thing, knocking down small tasks as fast as possible (works great for housework). I know this is sort of basic GTD for those who are hardcore about practicing it, but for some reason, having the acronym helps me remember that this is a better workflow model for me. I take a deep breath, and say “Do taters,” and suddenly, I don’t feel compelled to try and accomplish 20 things at once. Usually, within an hour, I have a whole lot less “stuff” pinging my attention, and I feel much better.

I’ve been working on my attention for about four years now, using David Allen’s GTD methods as well as David K. Reynolds’ Constructive Living. They work really well together. It’s had a huge impact in my quality of life, but like any good habit, you have to practice, and it’s easy to fall out of the habit and back into your older patterns of behavior.

So the next time you find yourself running in circles, stop, pick one thing, and DO TAATIRS. 🙂

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