If you looked at my very first resume, from the age of sixteen years old, I proudly listed multitasking underneath the heading, “Skills”. A few years later, it seemed to be a faux pas to even mention the word. Multitasking went from a strength to a major weakness overnight – it was reported to lower productivity, drop focus, and created outcomes that were seriously lacking.
the handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person
Becoming more focused on the task at hand became the thing, however as a mother, wife, and business owner, I find my time so limited that I am often forced to do more than one thing at once. I’ve quickly discovered tasks that can be easily done at once, and others that can’t.
For instance, I can’t talk on the phone and write articles. It just doesn’t work for me – I either focus on the conversation or ignore it completely. Same with photo editing – I stay focused on the one task for at least 25 minutes (and I use a timer!) before moving on to the next thing. But there are quite a few tasks that can easily be done together, which saves me time!
Multitasking that Actually Works
Your body and mind are only capable of doing so many things at once. Your mind can accomplish one task, and your body can accomplish another. That’s easy, right? To multitask properly, put your mind AND your body to work, so they don’t conflict and can each focus on their own tasks. I can easily talk on the phone while cleaning, or eat my lunch while editing a blog post.
- Do menial tasks while learning. Listen to a podcast, video, webinar, or a book on “tape” while tidying your desk, folding your laundry, sorting your files, and opening your mail.
- Don’t be afraid to mix business with a bit of pleasure. Meet a client at a new cafe or restaurant, go for a hike while brainstorming a new project, and while doing things that need your focus, like editing or writing code, listen to the latest album from your fave band.
- Think while you exercise. Get on the elliptical machine, a treadmill, or a stationary bike and create your to-do lists, respond to emails, and plan your day.
More Time Management Tips
True story: I thought I invented the Pomodoro Technique. Hilarious, right? I was having trouble finishing all my scattered tasks in a day, so I set up a timer on my phone for 25 minutes, determined to focus on that ONE task for that time (no email, no Facebook, no interruptions). Then I would give myself 5 minutes to use the washroom or hit up twitter, before going on to the next task. It boosted my productivity ten-fold! I thought I was brilliant for thinking of this amazing time management process! Then I discovered that it was called the Pomodoro Technique…
- Learn more about The Pomodoro Technique
- Use ToDoist on all your devices to stay focused
- 10 Best Ways to Keep Your Everyday Organized
- Five Tips for Time Management from Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less
- 15 Time Wasters Successful People Avoid
What are your favourite time management tips? Do you like multitasking?