It may seem like multi-tasking would be a great way to get more done in a shorter amount of time, and for some people that may be true, but generally it will just add stress, confuse your thought processes, and throw you off track. If multi-tasking isn’t something that works for you, make a change in your work routine and try using some time management techniques to become more efficient.
Use a Schedule and a Task List
Taking a few moments to make a list of everything you need to do in a day can be a great reminder of your workload and can help keep you focused. If you start multi-tasking as a way to remind yourself that you have other jobs which need completing, a task list will allow you to clear those other thoughts from your mind and focus only on the task at hand. Keep separate lists for what needs to be completed that day, that week, that month, and possibly even that year if you feel it’s necessary.
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Prioritize and Keep Track of Time
Your task list should be sorted in order of priority. If for any reason you run out of time that day, you can rest assured that the most important jobs were taken care of. You may also want to add a few of the quicker tasks to the top of the list as it can be encouraging to see some things crossed off and know you’ve gotten some of your work out of the way. Add realistic estimates of how much time each job will require to your schedule so you can give yourself some idea of how much work you think you’ll be able to get done.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Notepad
Quite often people will try to multi-task because something pops into their minds and they want to jump over to a different project while that thought is fresh. Rather than halting work on your current project, keep a notepad nearby to quickly jot your ideas down and get back to work on your original task. Once whatever was on your mind has been saved to paper, you can clear it from your brain and refocus your concentration.
Try to avoid answering the phone or checking e-mail when you’re working on a specific job. Distractions like these make it so easy to get off track and can tempt you to start working on something else. If your voicemail and e-mail can wait a little while, come back to it when you’re done what you’re currently working on.
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