Traditional time management works poorly or not at all in a multitasking environment. We can’t stick to a clear plan for the day, we can’t do one thing for long periods of time, and we can’t prioritize.
Multitasking isn’t well compatible with thoughtful planning. Most of all, it reminds us of an arcade game where we need to catch tasks falling from above, trying not to drop anything.
However, playing this game isn’t so difficult. Let’s find out how to learn how to multitask, and analyze a few habits that help you easily cope with multitasking.
The Right Attitude
Let’s start with habits of thinking. The tricky part is that people generally don’t like multitasking. And they’re right: multitasking means stress, work errors, and low productivity.
But if your profession is directly related to multitasking, this “dislike” exacerbates the problems. It makes us feel internal resistance, which can eventually lead to burnout or complete disgust for work.
Try looking at multitasking from this angle:
- Multitasking isn’t easy. Anyone who works under such conditions is already worthy of respect and admiration.
- The skill of multitasking is a valuable professional quality. The fact that you can handle your work characterizes you as a good professional.
- Juggling tasks is a fascinating activity, a bit like Tetris.
Think of multitasking as a challenge to your abilities and a reason to be proud. This attitude will save you from constant discomfort, and help you get into a state of flow on a regular basis.
Working Through a List
Most people don’t use any kind of list at work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: if a person does the same thing every day and knows their responsibilities well, they are really allowed to plan nothing.
However, with multitasking, a to-do list becomes a necessity. It’s the only way to avoid drowning in to-do’s, avoid stress, control your day, and have time for relaxation, like playing at Hellspin1, going out with friends, or watching movies.
Working through a list is made up of the following elements:
- Approximate planning of the day. In the morning or the night before, make a list of things you are going to accomplish at work. This plan is only a “blueprint”: during the day, tasks can be added, deleted, or rescheduled for tomorrow.
- Fixing tasks. All incoming tasks should be written down immediately. Fixation allows you not to forget about things and perceive them more rationally.
- Prioritization. Place more important tasks closer to the top of the list, and minor tasks closer to the end. You can refine the order of tasks as you work.
- Customize repetitive tasks. Every job has recurring tasks: checks, reports, keeping things organized, etc.
- Track ongoing tasks. Mark the tasks you are working on so you always remember what you are working on.
- Fixing the results. If you have worked on a task but have not had time to finish it, make a note of what stage it is now at.
This method helps you get back to work quickly after a break: you can see at a glance what you need to do next.
There are many good ways to prioritize. For example, you can prioritize tasks using the Eisenhower matrix or the multi-criteria evaluation method.
Unfortunately, it’s inconvenient to use these methods in a multitasking environment. We don’t have time to analyze tasks because all decisions must be made now:
- Accept the product or serve the customer?
- Write a report or answer an email?
- Fix a past order or fulfill a new one?
To answer these questions quickly, you should prioritize your work in advance. To do this, make a list of your responsibilities and put them in order of importance.