The need for multitasking is at an all-time high, especially in the field of digital education. I, for one, work in a dynamic work environment where there is a lot happening all the time. 

Working from home has made me mindful of the different interferences that pop up while working. For example, my phone buzzes away with news alerts and text messages, there are people in the house, birds outside, the microwave beeps, there is a doorbell, a pet, a library of unread books, the pile of laundry that had to be put away, the utensils that are soaking, the plant that needs to be watered, etc.

The list seems never-ending.  

What Brains Do

In a situation like this, it takes a lot of energy to focus on a particular task. I sometimes have to multitask and also ensure that my performance stays up because we are not only responsible for ourselves but also others while working in groups.  

What Brains (Should) Do

So, is there a way to keep your performance up? 

Timothy Gallwey addressed this in his book The Inner Game in the form of an equation: 

Performance = Potential – Interference

This implies that we achieve our peak performance when we are able to do a task with minimum obstacles or interferences. High productivity means minimizing interruptions or interferences.

Here are a few ways I try to eliminate such interruptions in my workspace: 

1. Identifying and labeling emotions: I begin by identifying what triggers an emotional response that distracts me from my goal. 

2. Setting boundaries: Once the triggers identified, I set basic ground rules. To retain attention, we need to train our brains. Rules such as ‘I will surf the net for 10 minutes and then take a break’ help.

3. Making productivity buckets: It could be that thinking of a task is slowing you down. So, for example, if making a to-do list is becoming an interference, it is better to club similar tasks into separate productivity buckets and complete them.

4. Focusing on priorities: If I have too many tasks to complete, I think about what is important and letting that guide my behavior. I prioritize according to deadlines. 

5. Quality over quantity: When it comes to maintaining relations and communicating with people, (choosing the people we interact with must be done wisely) it may help to remember that having a secure relationship with a few people would be more useful than scattered conversations with acquaintances. 

6. Walking: Going for a walk really helps clear any confusion. I’m always at my productive best after a brisk walk.

7. Co-learn: People pick up on other people’s emotions and behaviors. I set friendly pacts with my friends and co-workers so that we are all held accountable or answerable to one another. 

8. Breathe: Taking a deep breath often helps me disconnect from obstacle-induced anxiety.

These are some ways in which I redirect my attention to achieve peak performance and, ultimately, achieve a high level of performance. To know more about your potential and performance, you can check out Harappa’s course on Leading Self

Deepita Shukla is an associate in the Curriculum Team at Harappa Education. She studied Sociology and Liberal Arts and can be spotted with a journal that has her thoughts doodled, in no particular chronological order. 


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