The digital age generally requires the skill of multitasking – no matter your personal preferences or opinions on its effectiveness, the demands of the modern workplace often make multitasking a necessity. So, how can you best juggle competing tasks and still produce quality work? Here are the best strategies to become a better multitasker:
Identify Your Tasks
For quicker multitasking, identity all of the tasks you need to do and document them in your preferred method. This will allow you a broader overview to determine opportunities for multitasking. As you’re working on tasks, you can quickly refer to your list and see if there’s anything else you can complete at the moment and cross out.
Pair Tasks in the Right Combination
The key to better multitasking is pairing tasks strategically. Look for tasks that don’t require focused concentration or retaining new information, and perform them together. Examples include checking emails, listening to voicemails, inputting simple data, etc. Also, when you’re pairing tasks, try to batch together similar ones, so your brain doesn’t have to switch back and forth between significantly different cognitive functions (i.e., don’t try to batch together a creative thinking task with a logical, numerical task).
Take Advantage of Downtime
There are likely many instances throughout your workday in which you have some downtime, such as when a meeting gets a late start, which can be an ideal opportunity to multitask. Be prepared to take advantage of the downtime by having a running list of tasks you can do during these times, such as reading white papers, responding to emails, etc.
Take Consistent Breaks
Multitasking takes a toll on your brain. If it goes on too long, you can become mentally fatigued and less able to perform tasks accurately. After an extended period of multitasking, take a break. Taking consistent breaks will give your brain the rest it needs, so you can dive back into multitasking without making errors.
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