Studies have shown time and again that multitasking isn’t something people are good at, even if people think they can effectively handle lots of tasks at once. If you are trying to do too many things at once, your brain has a hard time switching its focus back and forth. You could make mistakes, or be slower at doing all the tasks you’re trying to get accomplished.

You don’t have to continue with your multitasking lifestyle; you can learn to focus and break the habits that could be hurting your productivity. Three tips to help you stop multitasking include the following:

Don’t have too many windows open at one time

Computers should have made getting work done easier, but they’ve become a tremendous source of distraction. It is far too easy to keep opening up files and starting different tasks without ever getting up from your desk chair. Instead of having a bunch of different windows open at once, try to limit yourself to only the files you are working on at the moment and only the information you need to tackle that task. You can bookmark anything else you may need not related to your current work so you can access it later when you’re ready to move on to the next task.

Check email only at certain times so you can stay focused on your task at hand

If you are constantly checking your email, you will never be 100 percent focused on anything else. It is far too easy to get pulled into responding to emails and never get more important work done. Rather than keeping your inbox open, you should designate specific email times. When possible, let colleagues and other contacts know you won’t be responding to emails right away so they don’t expect immediate answers outside of your designated times.

Create a to-do list and a priority list – then follow that list and learn to prioritize

If you are organized about what tasks you want to accomplish and in what order, you can stop multi-tasking and get everything done much more efficiently.

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