The argument for multitasking goes back and forth. Some claim they are experts at managing multiple tasks at once, others attest that true multitasking is not possible and encourage focus on only one task at a time. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall, the fact of the matter is we all must juggle several tasks in our daily lives.
From a busy office with work piling up, to a bustling home life with kids running in every direction and more plans than we can keep track of, our lives are consumed with the need to analyze, organize, manage and complete tasks constantly. Those tasks may be as simple as remembering to send a quick email or packing tomorrow’s lunch, or they may be as complicated as putting together a large scale proposal or planning an extended family vacation, but the point is they are all tasks that require your time and attention one way or another.
Learn to become a better multitasker by taking these steps to organize your thoughts and manage the tasks that need to be completed:
Keep your to-do list up-to-date: In order to truly stay on top of your responsibilities, keep all of your ‘to-do’ list items in a singular location and update it as needed. Although it may feel tedious to make a list and check off every little thing, it’ll become a life saver when you need to take a quick look at your big picture workload.
Establish clear goals: Before you begin any project or task, identify the true goal of the project. This can be as simple as “send the email” or it can be as complex as “increasing employee retention by 5%”. By setting a clear benchmark for success, you will be able to identify whether or not you achieved your objective with ease.
If you get stuck, leave it: Most professionals are working at least 40 hours per week and come home to a busy household as well. It’s impossible to maintain complete focus on your tasks every second of the day. If you find your mind drifting or can’t seem to stay away from the Twitter feed, stop what you’re doing and move on. You aren’t accomplishing anything anyway so instead of forcing yourself to create mediocre work that you’ll have to redo later, focus on something new or take a much needed break.
Be flexible: There’s nothing worse than pouring your heart and soul into a project (or homemade dinner) and it getting derailed midway. Whether the idea was scrapped or a pizza was ordered, you can’t help but feel like you wasted your time and your efforts weren’t realized. Instead of sulking about what didn’t go your way, realize that sometimes plans change and you have to too. Save the work you’ve already done for another project and serve the dinner as leftovers tomorrow night.