Being able to multitask means being able to do several things all at the same time. It’s an important skill to learn because it will enable you to be more productive and do more things in less time. This means being able to follow the evening news while cooking dinner, helping your child with homework and talking on the phone all at the same time. The ability to juggle several activities at the same time can be quite confusing to some, but it can be done!
Here’s how to multitask without losing your sanity.
- Make a list of what you need to do. Before you get started, you need to get organized. This means laying out all the things that you need to do and making a list of what needs to get done. Have a to-do list or enter the items in your Blackberry. This way, you can mark off the items that you’re done with. You need to be able to keep track of your activities and writing it down is a great way to stay organized.
- Learn to prioritize. When you are multitasking, it’s important that you get the priority items done first. It doesn’t make sense to do a lot of things all at the same time but aren’t of immediate importance. Even if you do accomplish a lot, you need to make sure you finish what is top priority. For example, if you have to prepare your presentation that you will show tomorrow morning, it doesn’t make sense to try to finish two other projects due next week first.
- Combine activities that can be done in the same area. An efficient way to multitask is to do the things that you can easily do in the same place or area. For example, if you’re going to a meeting on a different floor, you may want to take along with you some documents that you need signed by someone on the same floor or who are on the way to where you need to go. When you are at your desk, you can check your voicemail while you try to log on to your computer. At the same time, you can also start throwing out some old files. Avoid doing tasks together that require you at different areas or places at the same time.
- Learn to discern what you can and cannot multitask. You can’t multitask everything and it’s your job to determine what you can and cannot do. Some things need your complete and undivided attention. For example, you can’t check your email while making love to your wife. You can however try to check your email while waiting for dinner to cook. Devote your time, energy and attention to the task that needs some level of focus so you do it right.
- Remember that practice makes perfect. It takes a while to be able to do several things at the same time. The more you do it, the better you will get at it. Make some activities part of your routine. For example, you can try getting ready in the morning while you toast bread for your children’s breakfast. Or, when you get to work, you can log on to your computer while you check your in-box, voice mail and check your appointments for the day.
Keep in mind that multitasking is well and good, but you should also
allow yourself some time to just sit back and relax. There are some
things you should savor, such as enjoying dinner with your family
without interruptions, or enjoying a sunset while sipping a glass of
wine. Don’t forget that it’s good to be productive, but you should also
have balance in your life if you really want to keep your sanity.