Are you on a 3 task mode?

The human brain has a limit to multitasking. Not going into technicalities but by multitasking I mean doing multiple tasks in a limited time frame (not simultaneously). 

Tasks come in various sizes and shapes. Some require special attention, while as others can be done as a passing thought. In my experience I have found it valuable to pick "3 deserving candidates" for a limited time frame. 30-45 minute time slots work for me but that's very specific to the kind of work I do. I try not to pick more than one complex task in one time slot. Primarily because most of the time, there are a bunch of small tasks hiding behind the complex one. And they pounce on you only when you start working on it :)

When I finish one task - I refill the quota with a new one. If I get something urgent to do - I take one out of the quota. The advantage is that I force myself to focus on only 3-tasks at a time and shut out the rest. Its not as simple I am making (or trying to make) it sound. The key here is to close the file (assume they don't exist) on the rest of the tasks unless they are part of your active task list. It works pretty well for me especially on days where I am distracted for some reason. In the end, it is more important to get stuff done rather than do it all together. 


  1. Hmmm... interesting way of functioning.
    I can't help believing that these things that come from the subconscious mind have a sort of truth to them. It may not be a scientific truth, but it's psychological truth.

  2. @Tuhin Yes this comes from struggling day after to do more and accomplishing lesser than usual. Compartments in brain don't come naturally but there is a lot of value in creating them by force.

  3. True Tanmoy. I have been doing a similar trick - priorities tasks and managing the higher priority stuff in the prime hours of the day spread out to 3 hours or so. The next set priority tasks take the next time slot and so on. Have been able to handle tasks better.

  4. Thanks for your comment Chandrasekkar (I hope I got your name right). Yes doing the high priority tasks in the best part of the day is a good strategy. I know its difficult to arrange the day like that but I guess there is value in getting used to it and reminding ourselves about it every day/week.

    What other strategies do you follow to make your day more productive?

  5. In management we follow the principle called "In Basket" to prioritise all the work/tasks in hand/pending or else one may forget some of them. There is time schedule for every work how miniscule it may look like. However with experiance one can manage things in mind.