How to multi-task like a pro: Don't do it at all.

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Multitasking is what the Operative System running on your computer does in order to run multiple applications at the same time. The CPU can only run one program at a time, so the OS literally splits the available CPU time between all the running applications. It works well for computers: It slowly kills you.

This is the pain that you feel when you have Mail, a Code Editor, a Web Browser and Hipchat running on the same desktop. You are refactoring some code, then suddenly you get an email – your boss has a question. You reply. Now time to get back to code ( uh were was I?). Your browser, Hipchat, Basecamp…all of those very important tools are competing for your undivided attention. Every time you leave one task unfinished to focus on another you will need to go back and refocus. Context switching is sucking your time: your most valuable resource.

Your court of tools are conspiring a Coup d’état against you. It’s time to remind them who is the king.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Bookmark this page on your browser now. Then close every single application, including the browser. Do it and take 5 seconds to look at the desktop. Do it now, you can come back later.

This is what perfection looks like: There is nothing calling for your attention. Thereby you are free to focus on your most important task. Long live the King

I know what you are thinking: You do need to have several tools running to do your job. Sure you do, but now that you know what perfection looks like, you are ready to look for it.

Press F3 to open Mac OS’s Spaces view. Create 6 of them. Drag your browser to the third one and your code editor to the fourth. This is the starting stance. You can quickly switch between spaces by pressing ‘ctrl’ + ← or ‘ctrl’ + →. By having your browser and code at the center of your spaces you can quickly move to it from whatever space you are.

The rule is: You shall have only one application per space. Since you can only be on one space at a time, your focus will be dedicated to just one application. This simple strategy is the foundation of a productive work-flow.

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