Multitasking is an essential soft skill in today’s world. It doesn’t matter what aspect of your life; you need multitasking skills to stay on top and work efficiently.
But why would you need to multitask?
It would be nice if school work came one after the other or if you were only assigned tasks at work after completing the last, but that’s not the reality. Instead, there are multiple things to juggle all at once while still getting personal tasks done.
This is where multitasking comes in. Multitasking allows you to juggle several important tasks efficiently without compromising on quality outputs. You can group your tasks without overwhelming yourself and produce quality results.
This is both a personal and professional skill that can change the game. However, many people struggle with multitasking and often produce mediocre results. If you are one of them, don’t worry.
This article will make sense of multitasking. We will share the best tips on how to improve multitasking skills. .
How to Improve Multitasking Skills – Top 10 Tips
Multitasking efficiently requires several efforts. You must prepare, be organized, and stay focused. Here are ten tips to keep on the track below.
1. Create a Written Schedule
It’s true what they say about failing to plan. Failing to plan can result in you planning to fail. The best thing to do when you have a list of tasks ahead of you, is to plan.
Planning helps to improve your organizational skills. You can set realistic objectives and goals for each of your activities, and even decide if there’s a task that’s not beneficial after all.
First, you should buy a productivity planner, or download an app like ClickUp or Todoist (if you prefer keeping things digital). You should write down your tasks for each day and split each task into snippets.
Breaking down your tasks like this will make them less overwhelming. You’ll be able to view those things as simple and achievable. Try to log a time estimate for each task as well.
2. Prioritize Your Tasks
There’s no point in completing several menial tasks if your most urgent tasks aren’t finished. After planning, you’ll find that some of our priorities are unnecessary and can wait.
After filtering out what’s truly important, and what would merely be a plus, the next step is to decide how urgent each important task is. Unfortunately, this part is usually hard for many people.
Almost all of your colleagues and managers will always think the work they have for you is the most urgent. But even with the most extraordinary multitasking skills, there’s only so much you can do. And no, hierarchy rarely corresponds with urgency. So, how do you handle this exactly?
You must be able to manage your time, as well as others’ expectations simultaneously. Learn to say no, ask for more time as needed, communicate your position, and ask precise questions about tasks.
Your urgent tasks are those that have a looming deadline. In fact, their deadlines may already have passed. For example, if the person formerly in charge of the task suddenly resigns. These tasks typically don’t require lots of work. They are rarely novel tasks you have yet to handle before.
On the other hand, important tasks are tasks that can impact other people’s projects. Their deadline is less imposing, but you still need to get them done.
So, it’s best to get the urgent tasks out of the way first, and then sort out the important ones. But be careful, an important task can quickly become urgent if you don’t stay on top of your schedule.
3. Work on Similar Tasks at the Same Time
The whole point of multitasking is to complete more than one task within the same time frame. For this to happen, consider grouping similar tasks together and doing them at once or following each other.
Think of these sets of tasks:
- Doing the preliminary research for all your tasks at once.
- Creating a template for all the emails you want to send to several companies and representatives
- Holding one meeting to discuss several topics with the same participants instead of setting up different ones.
By dividing your tasks up into structured sub-sets, you enhance your multitasking skills by keeping your brain focused in the same direction. However, if you keep launching from one task to a completely different one, you open several “tabs” in your brain simultaneously. This can wear you out and make you uncommitted to your tasks.
For example, if you are a social media manager, consider scheduling your posts for each social media platform all at once. This will end up with smoother results for you than checking Facebook analytics at the same time as scheduling posts for Pinterest, all while responding to comments on Twitter.
4. Create a Workspace
A great work environment has a way of gearing you up for work. First, it puts you in the right frame of mind, and all your required things will be in correct, designated spots.
Your workspace can be casual. It can consist of just a simple bed efficiency table, or a table and chair in one corner of your home. Ensure you keep it organized with the right tools like your laptop, journal, phone, pens, staplers, etc.
Also, you can add all your comfort tools. For example, a pillow, a leg mat, and proper lighting will relax you even while so much is happening in your head.
5. Remove All Forms of Distraction
Many people lose focus while working, which can hinder progress significantly. Distraction is relative, but generally, a clutter-free space is less distracting. You may feel the constant urge to go online while working. This can slow you down. So, whenever you have a considerable workload to run through, having your phone or tablet beside you is not a good idea.
You can turn them off in the meantime. Also, if you live with people and work from home, you can get a Do Not Disturb sign in front of your door. You may also remove toys, equipment, handy tools, etc.
Many people say they work faster when playing a specially curated work playlist. But this works differently for everyone.
Some people can’t resist singing along, feel distracted by song lyrics, or even want to get up and dance.
The important thing here is to know yourself. If lyrics are distracting, you can check out modern classical tunes, instrumentals, blues, and country music. However, it’s also okay if you can’t work with sound.
6. Use Online Work Efficiency Tools
The digital world is impressive, and one of the blessings we have today is the several online tools at our disposal. Instead of working hard, it’s better to work smart. These tools allow you to do so.
You can download online planners or use Google Calendar. Not only can you schedule your tasks, but you can also add the exact time you need to end each one and get started on another. You will get reminded as each time passes. Some apps even send you words of encouragement to push you to the finish line.
You can schedule meetings and automate reminders to stakeholders with Teams and Google Meet, send important emails ahead of time with the schedule send option on Gmail, and have your team notified of work and plan changes with Trello or Asana.
These apps reduce your time working, perform simpler tasks, and free you up for more meaningful things. Overall, they keep you on top of things and reduce the likelihood of forgetting to do some tasks.
7. Adapt the Pomodoro Technique
You need to work in blocks of time. If you force yourself to stay seated at your desk, running through multiple tasks for endless hours, chances are, you’ll achieve little. This can be disappointing since it appears you’ve committed much time to those tasks.
This often happens because the average human brain can’t keep a high concentration level for an extended period. We are wired to be able to perform at higher function for thirty minutes than for one hour.
So, how exactly do you complete your tasks when you struggle to even begin them? You can adapt the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro technique suggests working for twenty-five minutes at a stretch and taking a break. This break can last for five to eight minutes. Every twenty-five minutes count as a block. After completing four blocks, you can take a more extended break. This break can last for fifteen to twenty minutes.
In simpler terms, every twenty-five minutes is a block. There’s a short break for every block, and for every four blocks, there’s a long break.
But does the Pomodoro Technique work for everyone? The answer is no. Instead, you can develop your own formula based on your capabilities to ensure you can work and take breaks.
8. Be Comfortable With Supervising
You don’t have to do everything on your own. Remember that one of the most critical skills of a leader is the ability to delegate. So, learn to be comfortable giving out some tasks to others so you can concentrate on the more important things.
However, if it is more efficient to work on two or more tasks by yourself, then it is better to handle it yourself than delegate it to others.
Ultimately, the goal is to get the tasks done in time.
9. Keep Your Brain Awake
Multitasking requires you to engage your brain. Like the body, the brain needs constant exercise to function properly. So, you should engage your brain in mental exercises to keep it sharp.
Researchers suggest playing games. Games have several recurrent activities, following instructions and pressing buttons. They also arouse your emotions and instinctual reactions, stimulating mental function.
Also, there are specially designed online games for this purpose. For example, Elevate offers brain-stimulating exercises. You can also try offline sports. Swimming, golf, cycling, scrabble, chess, and card games are all excellent activities you can engage in.
Anything that involves using more than one brain function at a time is great for improving your multitasking skills.
10. Practice Makes Perfect
Just like everything else, you can hone your multitasking skills through constant practice. You should try out several apps, break styles, and self-reward methods to see what works.
Monitor your progress regularly. You can time yourself to see what you’ve accomplished after each hour.
Practice reveals things you didn’t know about yourself. For example, you may find that you are more productive and can multitask in the evening while you struggle with just one task in the morning. This will help you improve even if you don’t become an excellent multitasker.
Is Multitasking Always a Good Thing?
It’s true that multitasking is a much-needed skill and allows you to finish several tasks simultaneously. However, multitasking, if not done right, can be detrimental. For one, since you are devoting your attention to several tasks at once, you may be unable to concentrate on any fully.
This means you may have several tasks done halfway but none completed. You can also tire yourself out quickly, which will lead to stress.
Besides, even if you do it right, it can earn you a reputation at work. Other people can try to take advantage of your skill and overload you with tasks.
Make sure you are kind to yourself. If you feel overwhelmed, remember to take a break without beating yourself up. Also, stay hydrated and eat healthy to boost brain function.
Multitasking skills are now more crucial than ever. In today’s world, they are skills that could make all the difference in how efficient and valuable you are at your job. Both leaders and employees alike need these skills.
Once you’ve used the tips above and seen improvements, you can highlight your multitasking skills when applying for a new job. In addition, you can cite specific examples during a job interview so that the recruiter notes this advantage over other candidates.
Overall, multitasking will not only make you a valuable employee or a high achiever, but it will also improve your work-life balance. Hopefully this article helped you figure out how to improve multitasking skills!