Productivity Improvement | 06.15.2015

Effective Multitasking Made Easy With Five Simple Tips

Multitasking is a way of work and life, especially in the midst of the Digital Era. Switching your attention between multiple projects, business meetings, and various forms of communication constantly keeps our minds busy and engaged. However, multitasking is not for everyone and studies show that the practice can actually hinder productivity, rather than help.

Today’s work environments are demanding, meaning that multitasking is almost inevitable whether you realize you’re doing it or not. While it may not be possible to avoid handling multiple activities at once, it can be managed.

Following these five steps will allow you to make your time more valuable through each task so you can create success in each of your endeavors.

    1. Establish Your Goals

Set your objectives early so you can optimize your multitasking, not maximize it. Prioritize which tasks are urgent and then order them accordingly. Scheduling your day and establishing your goals is not only an exercise in time management, but also a great opportunity to optimize the capability of your multitasking.

Evaluate whether or not multitasking is appropriate for the goals you have assigned yourself. Ask questions like “Is it going to help me get more done?” or “Am I going to be working on multiple things, which will result in poor quality and more time spent?”.

    1. Set Aside Time to Focus on Complex Tasks

Set aside a period of time each day or week to focus on a project which requires a significant amount of attention. Let it be known that you prefer to have this time by yourself, and use that time for intense tasks and your undivided attention. Stay out of your inbox for a certain time during the day or think about shutting off your mobile device for a few hours to minimize any distractions that may surface.

    1. Work on One Thing at a Time, but Alternate

Improve your efficiency at work by only working on one thing at a time. Multitasking is a fine art, and while it may look simple, the key is to handle things one at a time. Cluster tasks that are similar in subject matter and execute these tasks one by one via the same medium (i.e. phone calls, answering emails, etc). When you build up a steady momentum, it will become more efficient to power through your workload.

Set a timer or alarm and give yourself an allotted amount of time to work on a project. When the time is up, move on to the next task.

    1. Plan Ahead

There is no way to possibly schedule every interruption that may occur throughout your work day or week. However, it is possible to select and have in mind a general sequence of events to be completed.

Start with longer and more involved tasks first and fill in the gaps with shorter, well-defined tasks. Keep in the mind the type of resources needed to meet your goals and put the in a sequence which utilizes those resources efficiently.

    1. Allow Extra Time

Interruptions are inevitable. Remember to factor that in when you plan for how long you expect everything else to take. Don’t saturate your schedule to the point that any type of interruption may hinder you from completing your goals. Allow extra time for mishaps. If they don’t happen, great! But if they do, you’ll be prepared.