Multi-tasking. The ultimate skill stated at every job interview. Up until recently, it was believed that multi-tasking increased productivity. Studies now show multitasking wastes a significant amount of time.
The definition of multi-tasking: performing two or more tasks simultaneously
The idea is great in theory, but not in practice.
A great example, one that affects my kids, is when I’m trying to do something on my phone the same time my 4 year old is asking me for something. Usually the end result is me saying “what did you just ask?”
Multitasking does not allow for you to focus all of your attention at the task, or person, at hand. This is especially true if you are trying to listen to someone and simultaneously trying to write. Your brain does not have the ability to do comprehend both at the same time. You go back and forth between the two tasks at hand.
Overwhelmed. Drained. Disoriented.
These are words that can describe how you feel after you finish “multi-tasking.”
The good news is, we have the ability to move between multiple tasks and then come back to the task we were already doing. That is indeed impressive. Where we get it wrong is when we go back and forth between tasks without accomplishing any one particular task. It takes longer to complete each task when you go between tasks. When you focus on one task and then move to the next, it does not take as much time.
To be more efficient with your time, prioritize your tasks at hand.
3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks and Time
- Make a list of what needs to be accomplished.
Having a list will help you to see the entire picture. I have a running tab of to-do’s at work. When I look at that list, I can determine what is most important and focus on that one task at hand.
I sit down every morning, whether at work or at home, and create my to-do list. This helps me focus on what must get done.
- Decide what needs to be done first
Look at your list. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away.
Now that those items are off your list, you have a list before you that needs to be accomplished. Every item on your list has a level of importance. Re-order your list in regards to when it needs to be completed and order of importance.
- Get ‘er done
Go through your list one by one and
Get. It. Done.
Focus on one task at hand and accomplish it efficiently.
I’ve heard lately from many people that they dread making phone calls, for any reason. If that is you, put those calls first on your list so you can cross them off.
The idea and concept of multi-tasking is held on a pedestal as one of the best qualities to have, especially in an interview. When looking at how to manage your time, to be the most efficient, focusing on one task until it is complete is the most efficient.
Do you normally “multi-task”? If so, what does that normally look like for you? Share below!
Here’s to the Journey!
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