Zoom Zoom Zoom: The Better Way to Multitask

ZoomingI came across this article on Inc.com, “Do You Zoom?” by Terri Lonier. While it’s not a new article (it was written in 2007), it is one that piqued my interest nonetheless. I think the concept of “zooming” is a timeless one that many small business owners and freelancers could benefit from, especially if they struggle with productivity and being able to move from task to task without suffering from increased stress.

What is Zooming?

In Lonier’s article, she defines zooming as “the capacity to shift rapidly — and repeatedly — between a macro-view and a micro-view of one’s business.” Lonier’s position is that being able to refocus quickly and seamlessly helps entrepreneurs who are responsible for wearing many hats maintain the necessary speed that keeps their businesses running smoothly and efficiently.

If a business owner is able to zoom successfully, they are better able to adapt to the constant daily challenges of business ownership, while increasing their productivity and accomplishing more of their major and minor tasks.

How You Can Maximize Your Zoom

I think zooming makes a fantastic alternative to more traditional ideas of multitasking that get such a bad rap, and one most of us probably already do without recognizing it as such. While multitasking typically refers to attempting to focus on more than one task at a time (which can be argued to actually make you unproductive, although I would disagree in some cases), zooming allows you to monotask, or focus on only one task at a time, but increase your ability to move quickly from one task to the next without facing a prolonged transition.

If you’re interested in enhancing your zooming techniques, here are some ways you can focus on the zoom and start to eliminate the multitask mindset.

Perfect Your To-Do List

Whatever your preferences, just about all of us use some sort of list to keep track of the things we need to get done. One way to set yourself up for better zooming is by having a list that works for your individual mindset, and supports your desire to move back and forth between all kinds of tasks during your day. This means your list should be broken down into small and manageable tasks.

You may also find that you are able to zoom more effectively if you use a categorized and prioritized to-do list instead of one massive list that acts as your task dumping ground.

Consider the Big Picture

While you’ll need to spend time focusing on each individual task, don’t lose sight of the end goal. Each minor task on your list is a component of a major project, and by thinking through the full process, you can make sure your work on the minor tasks really does support the big stuff. You can do this for each minor task you tackle by looking at it in relation to the big picture, questioning the task’s place in the final result and making sure it maintains the integrity of the overall project.

Be Focused in the Moment

Unlike multitasking, zooming doesn’t try to force your brain to process more than one complex thought at a time. Unfortunately, our own desire to reach a high level of productivity by getting a lot done in a short period of time may work against us here. As you move from task to task, focus on the one thing you are working on and push all competing thoughts and distractions aside. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if you’re able to be completely focused on that one task in the moment you are doing it, you’re on your way to highly efficient zooming.

Do you zoom? Do you think it may be more productive than multitasking?

Image credit: Ariel da Silva Parreira

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  • Swivelgames

    Great concept, great article, great read. Glad I read it; this should help me actually :P

  • Anonymous

    Great article, thanks!

    I use wee little post-its to help me zoom as they can be easily re-arranged as your list gets modified throughout the day. It is a bit sad when they loose their stick, but at that point I think that whatever was on said stick-less post-it should have ben completed. Sometimes I even stick them together to make a “super” post-it!

    Woot!

    -TheRossMan

  • http://www.brothercake.com/ brothercake

    Tracking research shows us that it’s impossible to focus on more than one task at a time. What we do when we multi-task is switch rapidly between tasks, while only every actually focussing on one at a time. Being a good multi-tasker means being able to prioritorise and shift focus effectively.

    So yeah, this sums up what multi-tasking really is quite nicely.