by Rachelle Disbennet-Lee, PhD.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Disbennett-Lee, PhD provides daily motivation, information and
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© Coach Rachelle Disbennett Lee, PhD, 2007