Master Multitasking with these Tips
The ability to multitask is both a curse and a blessing. On one hand, multitasking can allow you to complete two important tasks at once. On the other, too much multitasking can lead to reduced quality of work and a lack of focus on the task at hand. Regardless, it’s a skill that many are expected to have in the classroom and the workplace.
A recent Inc. article highlighted this internal conflict, putting it bluntly: “3 Ways to Multitask Well (Even Though Your Brain Hates It). We’ll break down Inc.’s three great multitasking tips, while also giving you a few of our own.
6 Multitasking Tips
The Inc. article notes the conflict between multitasking and positive thinking: “…you're probably not a stranger to the fact that a gargantuan heap of evidence suggests that trying to do multiple things at once generally makes your brain smolder and complain.”1
For so many of us though, multitasking isn’t a choice; it’s a side-effect of a busy workday, classwork from several courses, or a combination of both work and school. In those scenarios, the ability to multitask effectively is pretty close to an essential skill.
To help you work towards mastering this, here’s a breakdown of the three tips provided in the Inc. article:
- Save internet access for when you really need it: The Inc. piece notes that one of the biggest issues with multitasking is effectively using the internet; at the right time, it’s an invaluable technology in the office or classroom. But at the wrong time, it can contribute heavily to procrastination. Inc. highlights advice from an expert: Divide your tasks in to two categories, those that should be done with internet and those without it.
- Put your smartphone on “do not disturb”: Constant interruptions are a hindrance to good multitasking, and that includes your phone constantly going off with text and email notifications. The Inc. article makes a clever suggestion: Set up a phone-to-email filter, so you can quickly and efficiently respond to important messages from your desktop, rather than spend a long time typing up texts.
- Use multitasking to be more creative: While much of the Inc. article is dedicated to the issues that multitasking can have on productivity, it does note that there’s one situation where multitasking is very effective: When creative work is being done. For example, if you have several class assignments across multiple diverse subjects, spending a short time working on each keeps your mind fresh and inspired.
Not feeling like a master multitasker yet? Here are three more tips for efficient multitasking from CTU:
- Multitask, don’t procrastinate: There’s a really big difference between “multitasking” and “wasting time.” Doing research on the internet can quickly turn in to checking social media and reading blogs, for example. Make sure to limit all multitasking to only relevant and productive items.
- Always plan ahead: Planning is essential to good multitasking. If you have several simultaneous class or work projects, write them all down in a highest-to-lowest priority list before you begin working. This will help you multitask with a purpose and ensure your mind doesn’t wander to less important work.
- Take breaks as needed: Multitasking is a great way to power through a lot of work, and an even better way to experience some serious burnout. Taking breaks is still crucial, no matter how much work you have. Try to take 10-15 minutes every 2 hours, at the very least; this will help you recharge and avoid overwhelming stress.
Do you have a favorite multitasking tip? Share it below!
1 Stillman, J. (2015, September 23). 3 Ways to Multitask Well (Even Though Your Brain Hates It). Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/3-ways-to-multitask-well-even-though-your-brain-hates-it.html (visited 3/24/16)