If you’re convinced multitasking is not a big deal and makes you more efficient, you are mistaken. In fact, studies have found that multitasking reduces your productivity by 40%. Yikes! People multitask every single day whether they are doing it consciously or not. It could be anything from scrolling through Twitter while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, checking your personal email during your Monday morning work meeting, or replying to a text message while “listening” to your friend tell a story.

Today we have more distractions than ever before with social media, news, apps, friends, family, and an endless amount of notifications at our fingertips 24/7. How is anyone supposed to get anything done or stay focused when your phone is buzzing every 25 seconds? It’s distracting to you and everyone else in the room. It’s quite possible to become more focused and present, but it takes self-discipline and self-awareness.

Put the Phone Down!

For starters, learn to put your phone away. If you have a client presentation coming up and are falling behind on the project, log off, shut it down, put your phone in the other room, whatever you have to do to stay on top of your work. At my agency, we have a no-technology rule when it comes to team meetings, unless laptops are absolutely necessary. I’ve found that everyone is more focused and engaged and the meeting itself is more productive with clearly defined next steps.

Be Accountable

At the office and at home I practice being more self-aware. It’s about knowing what makes you distracted, like phones at the dinner table or having the TV on while trying to crank out a blog, and changing your habits to include becoming more present with what’s in front of you. Learn to train your easily-distracted-monkey-mind to focus on the task that you are doing right here, right now, so that you can give it 100% of your effort and engagement. I promise you will see more positive results when you immerse yourself in the present, become mindful of your actions and habits, and fully engage in the world around you one task at a time.

For all you multitaskers out there, I assure you there are ways to break the bad habit. Want to learn the 4 distinct tips I tell my colleagues and coworkers about how to stay present and focused? Check out the full story on the Business 2 Community blog here.