What is Multitasking?
It would be great if we could all live in a world where we only needed to focus on one thing at a time; If deadlines at work or school were one after another, rather than all on the same day. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and there’s always things to be done. Which is why, being able to multitask is probably more important than ever.
The art of multitasking is all about learning to work on, and manage more than one project or task at a time.
Being a multitasker can be a blessing and curse: Multi-tasking allows you to finish a variety of jobs faster and improves productivity, although it is important to remember that while you can work on several tasks at a time, each still needs to be done to a high quality.
Once you get a reputation for multi-tasking – particularly in the workplace – other people can try to take advantage and give you more and more work. Ultimately this can lead quickly to burn out or feeling overwhelmed.
If you can master multitasking without impacting your health and the quality of your work, it can be life changing. Work can be done on several projects at one time and everything can be finished before the deadline to a high quality.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how you can improve your multitasking skills, while also knowing when to say no, and how to prioritize work to get everything finished on time.
How to Improve Multitasking Skills
We’ve created a list of tips to improve multitasking skills to help you on the way to a more productive work day.
Learn to Concentrate
There are plenty of things to distract us in this era of technology, so learning to concentrate is a really useful skill.
To concentrate, find a space to use strictly for work. Whether that’s your work desk or home office, make sure the space is clean, tidy and free of distractions. If there’s something you need to do that’s not related to work, leave the space so that you can re-focus as soon as you’re back.
It might sound simple, but anytime you find your mind wandering, or you see yourself reaching for your phone to scroll through social media, tell yourself to ‘stop’. This quick tip helps to discipline your mind, develop your concentration and re-centre your focus.
If you do find yourself unable to stop thinking about something other than work, write it down and come back to it later.
Lastly, it’s totally okay to take a break. Taking a break will help you get away from your work and give your brain a rest so you’re all set to get back to the task at hand.
If you know your week or day is going to be pretty hectic, it’s good to plan ahead. Take some time at the beginning of the day to write down what you need to get done, what your deadlines are and what information you need to collate.
Then, plan your time. Split each task into snippets and try to estimate how much time each piece will take. This will help you plan your time with plenty leftover before the deadline to check over everything. Breaking down tasks into smaller projects will help you keep concentration as you will be able to see the finish line at all times.
Use online tools to stay focused
While staying off the internet is a good tip for anyone looking to boost their concentration and improve productivity, there are a lot of apps and tools available online to help you and your whole team focused.
Take Leverice for example. With Leverice you can assign different projects and tasks to different people, keep all important files and documentation all in one central space, and keep everyone updated with completed tasks and outstanding work. The system can be used to keep track of critical paths, and dashboards are available for accounting, human resources, sales and many more departments.
When multitasking as a team, communication is everything. Leverice’s in-app messaging service allows cross departments to discuss projects and get information to one another quicker than back and forth emailing.
Not only this, but as Leverice is based in-cloud, the platform can be accessed from just about anywhere.
Simpler tools can be used to create easy-to-update to-do lists just for you to help you tick off projects when each part is completed.
Distinguish urgent from important
A crucial part of multitasking is understanding what needs to be done first, and what can wait. In the workplace, you’ll find that everyone who sets you work will believe their task is most important and the most urgent, and this is where learning to say ‘no’ comes in. You need to be able to manage your own time, but also the expectations of others. Make sure people know when you intend to get their work done, and if there’s a delay, why.
Understanding the difference between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’ will really help you plan your time accordingly to get everything done on time.
Urgent tasks are those with an immediate deadline, or sometimes the deadline has already passed. They’re typically really quick tasks that don’t require a lot of time or work, but need to be done as soon as possible. Urgency comes from situations that have been created after a different task was set – for example, if the person in charge suddenly became ill or wasn’t able to finish the work prior to the deadline.
Important tasks therefore, have less of a looming deadline. They’re important because they can impact other projects or people. Some important tasks can turn into urgent ones when the deadline nears, so it’s vital to plan your time accordingly so not to miss deadlines.
There’s plenty of things to keep us distracted in the era of technology. Our phones, tablets and even our work laptops have access to notifications and the internet is just a click away.
If you have a huge workload to complete, it’s best to move your devices away and get cracking. If you have your own office, place a Do Not Disturb sign on your door for a bit of focused work time.
Keep your to-do list
Alongside planning ahead, and learning to concentrate, having a clear to-do list will enable you to multi-tasking much better. Some jobs will require you to wait for other members of the team to complete their part, or you are waiting for a reply to an email. In this time, you can easily work on a different project and keep your to-do list on track. With Leverice, the team can work together in a streamline platform to improve overall productivity. With all systems and tools in one single place, there’s no time to waste with opening new programs on your computer which leaves space to find other distractions.
Can multitaskingreally work?
Multitasking in recent years has gained quite a bad rep. There’s a lot of science to suggest that multitasking is actually bad for productivity. But by incorporating cross department systems like Leverice, understanding what your distraction triggers are and planning your time wisely, there’s nothing to say that working on multiple projects at once can’t be a fast and great way to work.
While some studies focus on the idea that working on multiple projects at once actually leads to our brains being unable to concentrate on one thing at a time, the way we see multitasking is very different: Working on several projects doesn’t have to be a flicking back and forth exercise, but more to do with planning your time to focus on a one smaller task at a time, and giving 110% to these snippets of work in order to get the job done faster.
Leverice apps can help with planning individual and group workloads to improve productivity and allow for effective multi-tasking. The platform provides space for segregating conversations about different projects into separate boards so that once your head is on a certain task, there’s no distractions coming from other messages and queries.
When deadlines are looming, Leverice dashboards will allow team members to re-assign roles to get the work done on time, so nobody falls behind. Work can be passed out and re-allocated with the click of a button meaning the team can work better together to get complete projects.
Multitasking may seem like a trick skill, but with focus, planning and the right tools it really can benefit everyone within the team.