The Myth of Multitasking (& How I Schedule my Week as an Introvert Entrepreneur)

May 16, 2021

A few weeks ago I shared on Instagram that I’d reassessed my priorities & rescheduled some tasks – the result was an extra day a week free of calls! Now as an introvert this is huge – saving my energy for my client work & for creating valuable content (as well as for life outside of my business, of course) is always the most important focus for me. This prompted someone to reach out via DM to ask:

“How do you schedule & ensure you get things done as an introvert?”

My answer?

“Time blocking & staying in one energy.”

Now on first glance time blocking may seem overwhelming – we often see calendars with 16 colours, scheduled to within a second of themselves, flicking between tasks every hour.

What I’ve found to be true about this kind of system for myself & my clients is…

It doesn’t work for us.

That’s not to say it doesn’t suit other personality types perfectly. There are enough best-selling books with 5* reviews about the subject that prove it does. But for sensitive, intuitive introverts? Quite honestly it’s restrictive, overwhelming, drains our energy & takes the fun out of our business.

Time & time again research has shown that when we switch between tasks, we lose a little bit of energy & focus, which then uses MORE energy & focus to get back. This method means that by the end of the day, you’ve lost a LOT of energy & brainpower.

Not good.

When I was an air traffic controller, we would frequently have experts come to observe us work – usually from Human Factors or cognitive psychologists. They would try to understand how our brains worked (they usually couldn’t), our decision making process & how we dealt with multiple pieces of information at one time (think listening to pilots, to my colleagues, to someone on the phone, various alarms, along with reading information from 6 screens. Oh, & planning the safe passage of up to 14 aircraft at the same time). While many controllers believed they could listen to & interpret two things simultaneously, it’s been scientifically proven that in fact the brain switches between them at a very rapid pace. Multitasking, my friends, is a myth. Your poor brain is actually going back & forth, getting mentally fatigued, hence why controllers are limited to a maximum of 2 hours on console (less in busier units). 

And a fatigued brain does not make for a good business owner.

So instead I block my days or half days into tasks that require a certain type of energy from me – be that creative, focussed, or sociable – to allow me to stay that way for a prolonged period of time, not compromising my mental bandwidth. For me this looks like:

Monday – Create social media content for the week. After my weekend off from my business, tech & social media, Monday morning is my most refreshed time of the week, so I use it for creativity. Once complete, I move onto my Conscious Consultant Certification study. I block out 2-3 hours to watch the video for the module then work through & take notes, before starting to complete the homework.

Tuesday – Client call day. I stay out of my emails & I’m less active on social media on these days. I have at least 15 minutes between calls (never back to back), so I take that time to have a stretch, get out into the garden for some fresh air or even just read a few pages of a non-business book to relax a little. If I tried to do anything creative on these days… I honestly dread to think what the results would be like!

Wednesday – Call with my coach & guest podcast recordings. Wednesday is an exciting day in my household – the cleaner comes. She finishes around 1pm so I don’t plan anything business related for the mornings. I’ll go out for breakfast or brunch instead (pandemic permitting) or just have a spacious morning. Once she’s complete I’ll often do 2 or 3 guest recordings in a day, along with my call with my own coach. It’s much easier for me to be in the sociable energy required for interviewing guests on a different day to one where I’m holding space for my clients on calls.

Thursday – Client call day. A repeat of Tuesday!

Friday – Welcome to ‘Follow Up Friday’. Friday morning is set aside for admin, finances, data & stats, emails, & tying up any loose ends before the weekend. If something pops up during, say, a Tuesday that needs attention in a different energy, it gets popped into ClickUp as a To-Do for Friday. That way I stay focussed on my clients while knowing it won’t get forgotten.

During my week off from client calls each month I schedule tasks such as video recording, writing articles, recording solo podcast episodes, working on new products & services – anything that requires a more creative, innovative energy. I like having the space to do these when I’m feeling inspired & have the luxury of time, & the quality of the outcome is always much better.

So there’s my own personal introvert-friendly way of scheduling things so they get done, but without exhausting myself. How do you manage your time & energy in your business? What can you take away from this post & apply in your own week?