Have you been very focused on getting something done when someone calls you or walks into your office with a new task? Do you find yourself feeling pulled in too many directions at once? Have you ever had the feeling that if just one more person adds to your to-do list you will explode? Well, you are multitasking. It stinks, doesn’t it?

How to Multitask Effectively

Like all of us, I struggle with trying to get more done. I have two choices: work longer hours or accomplish more in the time I spend working. If I use the first option someone else, usually my family loses out. For me, that is unacceptable. So I have to complete more tasks in the same amount of time. Here is the rub: I do not want to sacrifice quality.

Multitasking as it is usually understood is a myth. Trying to get two things that require close attention done at the same time is counter-productive. As magnificent as the mind is, it still takes time to shift back and forth between two problems. The primary rule of multitasking: Avoid it if possible. Focus on completing the task at hand then move on.

If you routinely do things that are repetitive or mundane, what Dave Crenshaw calls background tasks, now you have the opportunity to double up.  Here are the steps:

  1. When you plan your day, identify background tasks such as exercising, housework, or walking your dog.
  2. Pair the background task with another one that takes concentration. For example, while doing my stretching and strength exercises I listen to podcasts. I come up with writing topics when I run.
  3. Avoid planning background tasks when you need to be interacting with other people.

What do you do on those days when you lose control of your schedule? I recommend each time you have to change tasks, stop for 15 to 30 seconds, close your eyes, recall a quiet place you love, then continue with your day. Think of it as double-clutching your brain. It will allow you to shift gears more smoothly.

Question – What techniques do you have for more effectively getting things done? Please respond below.

© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links in the above post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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