You work on a report, then you receive an email labeled with High importance, you have questions from candidates for an ad, a colleague needs your help him for a project … does this scenario sound familiar to you? Multitasking claims to be that super skill that allows you to manage multiple tasks at the same time. In reality, our brain does not work that way.
According to studies, when you have to deal with a new task while you are already working on another, add a surplus of 15-20 minutes to the time you initially allocated for the first task. What can you do in this case? How not to become stressed and tired because of too many tasks?
We’ve prepared some tips for you.
1. Consider your limits
It is said that only 40% of our day’s work can be planned. 60% means unforeseen. Depending on the field in which you work, the percentages may suffer small adjustments. Take care only of the projects you can manage, depending on the importance and deadlines, but leave enough time for the unforeseen.
2. Separate what is urgent from what is important
A list of tasks completed on time is due, among other things, to good multitasking. And the secret behind it is a deep understanding of the differences between urgent tasks (deadlines) and important tasks (projects without deadlines).
For example, try applying the Eisenhower principle, which is to prioritize tasks in the following order:
Important and urgent;
Important, but not urgent;
Not important, but urgent;
It is not important and it is not urgent.
The importance of assigning these labels sets the tone of the to-do list, not the urgency. However, it does not mean that you should always perform your tasks in this order. Some people deal with tasks at levels 3 and 4 to create “breaks” between more important tasks.
3. Avoid distractions
Do you consider yourself in the category of people who can’t multitask? Think better about your work environment. Is there someone listening to music in the background or are there people talking on the phone continuously? You can still do your job and, also, you face all of the above, and this is called multitasking. The problem is that too much background noise can become a problem. Despite all the distractions, they are bad. For example, music helps some people work better; others are energized by conversations with colleagues. Used in moderation, these can be exactly the moments of breathing that give you the energy you need to continue with a new task.
4. Work on similar tasks at the same time
Sometimes you don’t have to keep switching between tasks. You can work on several projects simultaneously if they are similar.
All research can be done simultaneously
Hold a meeting to discuss several topics
Prepare a single presentation for a client, then just adapt it for the others
It won’t always be that simple. You will need to look for other ways to group tasks, such as performing all tasks for the same customer or managing issues based on location, product type, and so on.
In any case, this approach has the advantage of giving you an overview, so you can use the experiences from one project to another.
5. Take a break
As important as the time you spend working, are the minutes you take to rest. Breaks can help you get back to work. It is also beneficial for your body because you have the opportunity to move, preventing muscle tension and its harmful consequences.
The length and frequency of breaks will be defined by your personal choices, department and volume of tasks. Our recommendation is to never skip lunch.
Lastly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Like any other skill, multitasking is something you develop over time. Learn from your mistakes. You will notice the results sooner than you expect. ?