The word "compartmentalize" means to
separate into distinct parts. I am intrigued with the fact that
the word "mental" is in the word. For me it illustrates
the need to separate mentally what we are doing. One of the
tricks I am learning is to separate tasks and do one at a time.
As a recovering multitasker that isn't easy, but I am beginning
to see the benefits of doing one thing at a time.
I remember being told that it is impossible to
do two cognitive things at one time. A cognitive activity is
defined as a conscious intellectual activity. Although for years
I have prided myself on being able to do two or more things
at once, I am beginning to understand that when multitasking
my attention is divided so I am not doing the quality work I
would like. I also discovered that it often takes longer to
do more than one thing at a time because of the fact that my
attention is divided. The secret to getting things done and
getting them done right is to compartmentalize and focus on
one thing at a time.
I now divide my day into tasks. I map out what
I will be doing from hour to hour. Instead of starting the day
out with a list of things to do and thinking that I will just
work on all of it as I go along, I break my day down into tasks.
I will spend an hour on project A, fifteen minutes making telephone
calls, and another block of time on e-mail. By compartmentalizing
my day, I actually can get more done faster with fewer mistakes
and less frustration. It all boils down to focus.
I remember starting a project in the morning only
to have that same project on my desk at the end of the day.
I allowed myself to be distracted by all the other tasks that
needed attention. Now I realize that, if I focus on one thing
at a time, I can get the task at hand done and be ready for
the next one. I am not saying this is easy, because life doesn't
always fit into nice, neat compartments. However, by creating
this structure, it even makes it easier to deal with those unexpected
events life throws my way.
The trick with compartmentalizing is to discover
what works best for you. Scheduling my time in one-hour increments
works best for me. If the project I am working on doesn't take
an hour I then have created free time to do something else or
begin the next project. I have also learned to be flexible and
allow for unexpected events. I even build in extra time just
for that possibility. It may seem very structured, but there
is a lot of freedom in the structure. Instead of trying to do
everything at once, I focus on getting one thing done at a time,
and I actually accomplish more by the end of the day. I also
don't feel as scattered or as stressed.
Coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD provides daily motivation,
information and inspiration to thousands of busy self development
enthusiast who want to stay focused and on track to their goals
through her award winning e-zine 365 Days of Coaching. For a
free report, "The Power of Daily Action - How to create
more Wealth, Health and Happiness by Tapping Into the Power
of Daily Action" go to http://www.365daysofcoaching.com/daily_action.htm.
2004 True Direction, Inc.