In spite of the title, many studies have proven that multi-tasking can actually make you less efficient. It can actually decrease the level of knowledge and understanding you have of a job. It can lead to doing many things but not doing them all that well.
But before you get discouraged, consider this: Maybe the reason these studies have shown multi-tasking to decrease efficiency is that the subjects of the study simply weren’t approaching multi-tasking correctly.
Yeah, it looks creepy, but when you do it well, this is how multi-tasking can feel--like you’ve got lots of hands!
If you want to be a good multi-tasker, consider the following:
There is more than one type of multi-tasking.
When you read “multi-tasking,” you probably think about juggling and accomplishing several different things at once. This is not the only way to multi-task. Another valid form of multi-tasking involves focusing intently on one thing at a time but only for short periods of time—usually around fifteen to twenty minutes. Depending on what you want to accomplish, this can be a fantastic way to get quite a lot done.
Note: This is an especially effective way to study—you’re most likely to remember what you read at the beginning and at the end of a study session. Breaking up that time into smaller chunks will help you remember more.
Give yourself a break!
If you are used to working in a highly focused work environment where you might spend many days working intently on just one thing, switching to an environment in which lots of different things need to be accomplished can take some getting used to. It will take some time to learn how to switch gears.
Play to your strengths.
There are some things you are good at and can do without having to focus (at least not intently). There are other things that require more concentration. These are the things that you should pair together. Trying to do two things that require a lot of concentration isn’t going to do anything but make you really frustrated.
For example: You might return calls while doing the research you need to do before choosing a new wholesale VoIP carrier.
Note: You can pair a few things that have become habitual, too—no harm there!
Don’t force it.
There are simply some things that require all of your attention. That’s okay. Not everything needs to multi-tasked! Like most other things, the harder you try to force it, the more difficult it is going to be.
Technology is your friend.
Seriously—when it comes to getting a lot done in a little time, technology is your friend. For example: You can set up your email to sort your inbox into different folders so you don’t have to sort it yourself.
Another great example of this is those apps that will allow you to manage more than one social media account at a time.
Yep, you can do this! Just be patient and keep trying.
Multi-tasking is something that anybody can learn to do more efficiently. Like with most things, it just takes time and practice.
Author: Erin Steiner writes full-time about many topics including, but not limited to, small business, personal finance, and living on the Internet.
Image: Courtesy of Pong/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net