How to Segment Your Work Day and Get More Done

Do you believe in multitasking? Do you know how to Segment your work day and get more done?  There are numerous studies have proven that multitasking is a myth and that you you don’t get more done. In fact, you probably work more slowly because your brain has to continuously re-focus on each task. Scientists have discovered that the human brain can only focus on one thing at a time which means that multi-tasking should be called rapid sequential tasking or something along those lines because you’re really shifting focus back and forth to different tasks.

So why do people continue to multi-task? Because it makes them feel good, and productive. According to a study conducted at The Ohio State University one study showed that multitasking often gave students an emotional boost, even when it hurt their cognitive functions. Segmenting your work day, may be another way to achieve the same satisfying benefits and get more accomplished.

Fossil Sitting In Sun Light
A Guy Taking Pictures / Beach Photos / CC BY

What Does Segmenting Your Work Day Mean?  Segmenting means to divide into parts. In this case the parts are hours, or minutes. You probably do this to a certain extent when you schedule appointments on your calendar. You estimate that an appointment will take thirty minutes. However, most people don’t segment their daily work tasks. For example, they may sit down to write a blog post and write until the post is complete. Or, if they get satisfaction from multitasking they may write a blog post and check their email at the same time.

Why Segmenting Works.  Segmenting is effective because it forces you to focus on the task at hand. For example, if you’re writing a blog post and you’ve allotted thirty minutes to write it then you’re not going to be as likely to surf the internet, check your email or any other distractions or multi-tasking. You know you have thirty minutes to finish your task and you’ll work to achieve it in that length of time.  It’s also quite satisfying to work through a task list and check things off. You’ll likely find that you get twice as much done in half the time.

Making Segmenting Work for You.  To make segmenting work of you, you need to be able to do a few things. First, you need to be able to accurately assess the length of time it will take you to get something done. In the beginning, you will underestimate, so double or triple the amount of time that you think.  Or contact a few people that have done the task or may be able to provide a reasonable “guess” and ask them for there opinion.  It is wise to overestimate time so that you don’t get behind and discouraged. Additionally, you need to have some degree of self control to stick to your day’s plan. This can be helped by adding an incentive to the day. For example, if you get everything on your task list done on time you might treat yourself to an hour off to do whatever you’d like to do.

Segmenting your day can take some time to get used to, especially if you’re a long time multitasked. Give it a try and you’ll probably discover there’s a better, more enjoyable and more efficient way to spend your time.

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