With only 24 hours in a day and seemingly never-ending things to do multitasking seems to be an epidemic. Many of us have careers and/or businesses, a job and a part time business, children, our gym classes, meetings, networking mixers, kids sports, parties, organizations we belong to, pets to walk, parents to help care for and more. Can you relate? You are trying to get the kids off to school, talking on the phone to your colleague, answering the text that just came through confirming your Dr.s appointment, all while posting your next event to Instagram and Twitter, and I will also add from personal experience, throwing food into the crock pot so hopefully the kids can have dinner. I have 4 children and when I started my business my girls were 2 and 4 and I pretty much got got pregnant with my son right away. For me, chasing after 3 young kids, all just 2 years apart, made this example all too real. When they were a few years older I had my 4th child,which brought multitasking to a whole new level. I was officially a perpetual multitask-er, and at times I still struggle with it. I wanted to believe that this is the way I could squeeze everything into my day and satisfy everything and everyone, but is it? Does multitasking really work? Do you really think you are good at doing many things at once?
Multitasking – Trying to execute more than one task simultaneously.
We would all like to think multitasking works, some of us even believe we are good at it. The truth is trying to get too many things done at once is really just wasting time and making us less productive. What I have found is that multitasking is actually counterproductive. It causes me to be more forgetful, makes me feel overwhelmed and rushed. Which then causes more undue stress. Multitasking can result in more errors due to the insufficient attention we are giving to each task. This has caused me miscommunication with my business partner because of short texts due to the fact I was doing something else while responding. It has caused fender benders because of becoming distracted in the car, I have also lost potential clients through inaccurate emails I did not take the time to check before I pressed send because I was rushing to do something else. I spent more time correcting mistakes after a morning of multitasking only to realize at the end of the day I didn’t accomplish much of anything at all.
After admitting you are a perpetual multitask-er here are 4 things you can do to help you to overcome the multitasking habit and become more effective with your time:
1. Re Group – Once you realize you have begun to multitask take a break and breathe so you can refocus. Meditate in your chair for 5 minutes. Take a 5-minute walk, eat a snack or just take a few deep breaths. Then strat over.
2. Make a To Do List – Having a list of tasks from the night before would be helpful. Look over those tasks and rewrite them in order of importance and start the most important task first until you have completed it before going on to the next one. Tom Hopkins – How to Master the Art of Selling – talks about writing down the 6 most important things you need to do the next day right before you go to bed to go to sleep with a clear head!
3. Set Specific Times For Email & Social Media– I know for me my #1 distraction is my phone and my computer. By scheduling my posts and setting aside 2 -3 times per day that I will check my emails it opens me up to fewer distractions and more productivity. You can use Hoot-Suite or whatever platform works for you to schedule your posts every night or every morning, whichever works for you. I Try to check my email in he morning and in he evening, but there are times I have to set 30 minutes during the day to check it also.
4. Use a Planner/Calendar – Writing down your schedule is a huge key to having a successful day. Whatever type of planner or calendar you use to write down your schedule just make sure you read it a few times a day to stay on track. You should put your tasks in order of importance so you know what to tackle first.
So now that you know multitasking can do more harm than good, are you ready to implement these strategies to get back on track and become more effective and less stressed out? These tips hold true for your home schedule as well as your business schedule. I remember dropping my son off for baseball and running to drop my daughter off at soccer, I would split my time up and stay for 1/2 the soccer game and then 1/2 the baseball game, and while I was in the bleachers I was working on my phone. Once I got better at completing one task at a time and following a schedule I could be present and enjoy their games because I finished my most important tasks for the day. This saved me a lot of stress and guilt. The good news is that if you start implementing these tips today, before you know it you will be back on track and in control of your day!