3 Ways to Become a Successful Multitasker
I can remember less than 10 years ago how adding “excellent at multitasking” was welcomed and often anticipated on a resume. What a great way to present yourself to a potential employer by saying “I’m able to do more then one thing at a time!” We all thought this was a good thing. We could save ourselves time and we could save companies money by merely multitasking. Easy enough, right?
Fast-forward to today and many folks tend to see “multitasking” as a bad word. I don’t necessarily consider it a bad word, but we need to be very clear about what successful multi-tasking and what unsuccessful multi-tasking look like.
Let’s take a look at the unsuccessful multitasker first. You are working on a project, answering the phone, eating your lunch and checking your Twitter feed, all at the same time. Awesome right? Not necessarily. We want to believe that our minds have special super powers that allow us to not only do all four of these things at the same time, but also, do them well. Not possible. If we’re focused on answering the phone, we cannot be putting the right amount of attention into our project, or reading our Twitter feed. As for eating lunch, it’s an important part of your day, but try not to drop mayonnaise on your keyboard while you’re answering the phone and typing – yuck! When we’re multitasking like this we increase the chances of making a mistake, sometimes those mistakes can be costly. What if you send out a message on your Twitter feed that was supposed to be secret information for your important project? What if you respond to the person on the phone about something you just read online? Sure, as business owners we need to be able to juggle many things, all at the same time, but always multitasking is not the answer and is quite possibly costing you more time and money then you realize.
So, what does successful multitasking look like? Let me give you give you 3 solutions to give you a clearer picture of successful multitasking.
Create a schedule, not just to-do lists. You’re probably thinking about the next thing that needs to get done, before you’ve finished what you’re working on right now. Plug these projects into a schedule rather then a to-do list to help you stay on track for the next thing in line. Bonus: Set a timer to remind yourself it’s time to move on to the next pressing thing.
Like attracts like. Before you start the day take a look at what you have going on and determine which items can be grouped together. Are you jumping online to update your social media feeds? Why not take this time to read the blogs you have chosen to read/leave comments for the day? Or catching up on your colleagues/friends? Oh, and don’t forget to set that timer.
Write it down. Do you get sidetracked? Do ideas flow non-stop even when you’re working on another project?
Write it down! Go old fashioned and use a pen and paper or get high-tech and jump onto Evernote to keep track of these thoughts. By writing them down and getting them out of your head you can then get back to focusing on the task at hand.
Who says we can’t be successful at multi-tasking? What’s important is not trying to juggle everything at once, but working to manage our tasks so that our tasks don’t manage us.
Michelle Poteet is the chief Productivity Booster at The Productivity Boost – a professional organizing company where she teaches her business clients through improved workflow, efficient communication, and effective productivity tools to: Simply Work Smarter.
Posted by Michelle Poteet on 1st March, 2011 | Comments | Trackbacks
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