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Multi-tasking too much? There’s a plugin for that.

Prevent multi-tasking with these nifty plugins to improve your focus and well-being

Image credit to Michael Dales, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0, available at Flickr - https://flic.kr/p/b4qFiP 
As a recovering workaholic, I am really bad for multi-tasking. It’s quite normal for me to have Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Whatsapp, YouTube, CopyIn, some interesting articles, and a spreadsheet open. All at the same time. And that’s on a good day.

Multi-tasking can decrease productivity by up to 40% [1] and it can also promote stress and fatigue [2]. I for one, feel very overwhelmed when I do it. Too many emails. Too many things to do. Too much distracting content. I sincerely believe that multi-tasking contributed to my mental breakdown back in March this year. And yet, I still find myself doing it.

So, how do you prevent multi-tasking?
Solution 1) Limit the number of tabs you have open.

xTab is a fantastic cure for chronic multi-taskers who use Google Chrome. You simply install it and tell it how many tabs you want open at any time. I have personally found that three maximum to be optimal for single-tasking, as you may need to keep the others open for context. If you try to open more tabs after exceeding your limit, xTab will not allow this, akin to a virtual bartender saying, “You’ve had enough tabs for now. Stay focused.”

Solution 2) Remove your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feed.

All social media websites are designed to keep you clicking and engaging. The more page views and clicks these sites get, the more advertising revenue they generate. It is not in their interest to show you just one thing – instead, they must show you bazillion things in the hope that someone or something piques your interest just enough that you want to keep viewing and clicking. Why do you think these sites autoplay videos?

But, you don’t have to play their addictive game. For this reason, I have removed my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feed. After doing so, I feel like I can breathe again. I don’t feel I can trust myself not to “just have a quick scroll” and get sidetracked by clicking on something and- oh look a video about cats! *click*

I have the attention span of an excited four-year-old when I’m using the Internet. I imagine many others do too.

Here are some nifty Chrome plugins to remove the endless supply of digital crack cocaine (also known as “the news feed”) from various social networks:

Twitter: Hide Twitter Guff
LinkedIn: Installation instructions:

  1. Install the Custom Javascript for Websites Plugin
  2. Then go to linkedin.com
  3. Click the cjs button in top-right of your browser
  4. Paste in this code:

    function hideLifiElems(){for(var e=document.getElementsByClassName(“feed-base-update”),n=0;n<e.length;n++)e[n].innerHTML='<div style=”height:500px;” />’;var t=document.getElementsByClassName(“feed-follows-module”);t.length>0&&(t[0].innerHTML=””);var i=document.getElementsByClassName(“ad-banner-container”);if(i.length>0)for(n=0;n<i.length;n++)i[n].innerHTML=””;window.setTimeout(hideLifiElems,2e3)}hideLifiElems();

  5. Click Save, and voila, the LinkedIn feed is gone!

These plugins have been a game changer for my manageability and forcing me to stay focused when working.

Solution 3) Keep your phone on Do Not Disturb (semi-permanently)

No plugin is required for this solution luckily. During my time as CEO for giftgaming, I would often be disturbed by sales calls for things I had zero interest in, which interrupted my flow. Nowadays, my phone is on Do Not Disturb semi-permanently. I only allow a few select callers to reach me at any given time of day, and this helps keep my zen.

If this post has helped you curb your multi-tasking habit, why not subscribe to Nick Hatter’s weekly newsletter to get excellent posts like this one delivered directly to your inbox?

References:
[1] – Susan Weinschenk Ph.D., Psychology Today – “The True Cost of Multi-tasking”, 2012
[2] – William R. Klemm Ph.D., Psychology Today – “The Perils of Multitasking”, 2016
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