Multitasking is the ability to switch between various tasks at the same time and complete them efficiently, sort of like how a computer does. In reality, you don’t juggle all the tasks at the same time. Entrepreneurs and people who are exceptional at multitasking do it without thinking. It’s a process that happens naturally which ends up ramping up their productivity.
A few examples of multitasking in your everyday life is talking to a friend while going for a walk together, watching TV and texting at the same time, or even listening to your favourite music while you work.
Why Is Multitasking Important?
Multitasking is important because it saves time. It helps you get things done and makes you more productive. Yes, when you complete multiple tasks lined up simultaneously, you free up more time and get to focus on the things that matter. In a way, multitasking can literally change your life when done right. The keyword here is doing-it-right.
What Causes Inefficient Multitasking?
There are various reasons behind inefficient multitasking and why it doesn’t work for some people. Here are some of the effects of multitasking inefficiently and the causes behind them.
1. Rushing in
When you rush in and focus on getting the work done instead of focusing on the work itself, you get added stress and multitask inefficiently. You become more sloppy and make mistakes, basically.
2. Not Giving It Time
Not everybody picks up multitasking naturally. It takes time, and when you don’t give it the time it needs for new neural connections to form, you start failing at it.
3. Taking on Multiple Tasks at the Same Time
This is one of the biggest reasons behind inefficient multitasking. If you can’t do two things at the same time, you’re less likely to be able to pull off three or more.
Simple Ways to Develop the Ability to Multitask
If you’re wondering how to do multitasking and whether it’s actually possible to get good at it, we have some good news – yes, you can do it. But you have to go about it the right way. Below are some ways how you can develop the ability to multitask-
1. Make a To-do List
This may sound like cliché advice, but the best way to begin multitasking is to start with a to-do list. Jot down the tasks one by one based on difficulty levels and tackle them one at a time. Ideally, you want to be able to finish them by the end of the day and not get tired. Get used to the feeling and stay consistent. Then when you start getting the hang of things and it feels comfortable, you can switch gears and start combining similar tasks to make things go faster. It’s like how you do compound movements in the gym, target specific areas first and then target multiple areas at once.
2. Say No to Distractions
Look for a quiet environment for work, especially one that’s free from distractions when you intend to multitask. If you want to start practising multitasking, then your environment will play a huge role in your beginning steps towards it.
As you work, the kind of music playing matters too. If you can’t stand silence, then try listening to relaxing instrumental tracks or classical music. These help you focus and get in the zone. Just like how music can be a distraction when you choose it wrong, it can boost your focus and help you de-clutter your mind when you’re trying to multitask.
3. Take Breaks
We’re human and our attention spans are short. To make the most of your multitasking management skills, realise that you have to learn to take breaks. For every 30 minutes you work, take a 5 or 10 minute break. Review the information you’ve worked on periodically with fresh eyes and take a longer break of 20 minutes after every 2 hours or so. This will boost your productivity and improve your mood too.
4. Watch What You Eat
If you eat a lot of junk and processed foods, you’re going to feel terrible. How you feel will affect how you work long-term. If you’re serious about mastering multitasking at work, you have to first start by mastering yourself. And the best way to do that is by cleaning up your diet. Include lots of fruits and vegetables, grass-fed organic meats, seafood, nuts/seeds, etc. into your diet. You can add super foods like green powders too for an added boost to your nutrition.
5. Train It Into a Habit
The best way to get used to multitasking is to just make it a habit. When you train your brain to get better and better at switching between tasks, it gets more efficient and plain good at it. This will take time and require discipline on your part. But the good news is that it’ll just take 21 days for you to start feeling the benefits of multitasking since that’s how long it takes to build up a habit. Ingraining the habit for life will take at least 4 to 6 months though, so just keep at it until it sinks in.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you feel you’ve taken up too much work, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Delegating your tasks to a co-worker or someone you trust just means you’re a responsible person and human. It’s okay to take two steps back to move one step forward sometimes. After all, progress is progress. Once you’re able to handle your current workloads and multitask on them, you can always take up more later to make up for it.
Multitasking is no magic and yes, it is a skill that can be developed. If you go slow, take the time, and put in a conscious effort and smart practice, you’ll be soon reaping its benefits.