“Human brains are not designed to handle multiple tasks at a time however it is designed to handle one task at a time” we known this fact for a long time. It shows multitasking is not good for our brain, but no matter how bad the multitasking is? we can’t completely avoid it from our life because the ability to do multitask at work becomes highly demanding nowadays.
Even though multitasking affects our productivity at work then also corporates demand this skill from employees, they want their employees to be good at handling multiple types of work at a time. It’s not just limited to the workplace, in our daily life also we need to perform multiple tasks at a time. So even our daily life activities also need this ability.
The world is changing continuously at a faster rate than we think and there are a lot of things going side by side in our daily life which makes it hard to do monotasking like while working we have to attend calls, reply to emails, sometimes listen to customer complaints, etc. All these things we are doing together unconsciously.
See we can’t change this fast-changing world that demands to multitask, the only thing in our hands is we can learn how to handle this multitasking environment effectively. Because instead of multitasking with a distracted mind, it’s always better to do multitask at work in an organized manner.
So in this article, we will be going to understand how one can perform multitask at work effectively with the help of some tips or tested strategies and you can master this crucial skill of the 21st century. Let’s start…
Table of Contents
What is multitasking?
Multitask at work means the ability of a person to perform multiple things simultaneously. Some people are very bad at this and some are exceptionally well. Like they are naturally good at handling a lot of tasks simultaneously. Most people consider this as the supernatural skill required to become successful in life or at work.
Some of you may agree with this but I personally do not fully agree with this. Because I know multitasking is useful at work as well as in daily life but your entire success in life is not just dependent on this skill. Your long-term success depends on how effectively you perform your work with full focus and concentration. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing multitasking or monotasking.
Work-related tasks which need your full attention can give you great output results only when you do those tasks with full focus and concentration. So never think that if you can’t do multitask that means you are not going to become successful in life. Your success at work depends on your focus and concentration.
Just remove this thought from your mind because even though you are not naturally good at multitasking, still you can learn this skill by following some tips with continuous practice. Later in this article, you will understand how to do multitask at work effectively. Before that let see some of the examples of multitasking at work –
- Responding to work-related emails while talking with clients on phone.
- Taking notes while listening to presentations at meetings.
- Preparing multiple orders at the same time.
- Creating project reports and simultaneously discussing with teammates.
- Team leader handling multiple projects simultaneously.
I have just added a few examples but there are a lot of daily events that happen in your life at the workplace or in your personal life where you do multiple things at a time. Think about those. I know it’s going to be a huge list of tasks. So my point here is it’s important to learn the skill of multitasking at work.
Because handling multiple tasks is not problematic when you prioritize or organize your work effectively. When multiple tasks are managed well then that skill will become the best asset for your professional life.
This skill will help you finish a lot of work and activities in the minimum time period. Those who finish work within less amount of time are always rewarded at the workplace hence this skill helps you get a reward at your workplace like promotion, recognition from your boss, etc. So you must learn it at least for use at the workplace.
Check out – Can humans multitask?
How to multitask effectively at work?
Multitasking is useful at the workplace, however, it can be detrimental to your productivity and mental performance at work. If multitasking did with the right approach it can be a great way to complete multiple things simultaneously but if you can’t handle multitasking properly then that will lead to stress, anxiety, and a lot of mistakes at work.
So, here are the 10 tips to multitask effectively at work.
1. Avoid all the distractions –
When you are too busy at your workplace and there are a lot of tasks you need to complete back to back, in that case, make sure you can’t be distracted because a distracted mind disturbs everything.
So First of all, check out your environment it’s likely to have office noise, music, or your phone notification continuously popping up, your office mates talking, any background noise in the office, etc. that disturbing your focus at the workplace.
Still, you can complete your work but this type of continuous external distractions can become an issue and will make you unproductive at work. See, that’s normal every office has a noisy environment we can’t control that but at least we can control things that are in our control.
Like keeping mobile phones silent, turning off notifications on the phone, using headphones while working on important tasks that can block out all types of external noises, etc. These things can help us focus on the task at hand. So, make sure you check out your environment and try to remove as many distractions as possible.
2. Perform your work in blocks of time –
As we all know that the human brain can’t focus on multiple things at a time, with continuous switching we can’t produce the quality output from our work that’s why multitasking is difficult for us. But to overcome this issue we can use a time block system at work.
This means you can do a group of tasks together by separating them into blocks of time. Like you can set some time for each task and within that time period, you only focus on the particle task at hand and only switch to other tasks once the set time is over.
Eg- you can work in 25-minute blocks, take a short break after each block. In every block of 25 minutes, you should only focus on one task. Then after every 3 to 4 blocks of 25 minutes, you can take a longer break to settle down your brain.
This idea is useful because it’s easier for the human brain to focus on things for 25 to 30 minutes. You can find out your best time length, for how much time you can focus on one task, and create a time block according to that. This will help you to avoid the impact of switching.
3. Whenever possible group related tasks together –
Sometimes at your workplace, you need to switch a lot between tasks. But when you are working on two completely different tasks together and also you are switching continuously from one task to another then that will create confusion in your mind. Because both tasks are not related to each other.
This will reduce your working speed as well as the quality of your results and you become unproductive. So to overcome this issue, make sure when you are planning your working week, you should group the similar tasks together. Because switching between the similar tasks is easy, that helps you finish your work on time.
Even though this option is not better than the monotasking but still instead of switching between the different tasks, it is always easy and productive to switch between the similarly grouped tasks.
4. Take regular breaks in between the work-
Working continuously throughout the day without taking breaks is the best way to produce the worst standard results from your work. I am calling it the best way because when you work the entire day, doing multiple tasks, continuously switching from one task to another, and not giving the short break for the rest of your mind, then how you can expect the best outcome from your work?
To work effectively our brain needs a rest of at least 5 to 10 minutes after every one hour. Because taking short breaks is a proven way to restart your mind so you can get back to work refreshed. Your body will also thank you for these short breaks that prevent muscular tension and makes you more relaxed.
You should decide how many short breaks you need throughout the working day and for how much time, depending upon your tasks and work schedule. 5 to 10 minutes of a short break is good one to relax your mind.
If you especially working on creative tasks which involves decision-making and at the same time you have to switch a lot between the task, in that case, it is a must to have short breaks. This will help your mind to think more creatively and identify the mistakes in your work easily. So take short breaks.
5. Make a to-do list and prioritize your tasks –
Making a to-do list is the best way to figure out which task is important and which is less important. This is the most effective way to calm your mind even if you are busy doing multitask at work. Because by doing this you are organizing your work-related thoughts and also prioritizing what needs to be done.
While multitasking sometimes we forget the crucial tasks so that making the to-do list with the explanation of each task makes it easy to work on that tasks. You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind. It helps you to prioritize your actions.
You can use online organization tools like Excel to create an effective to-do list. Once you create this to-do list, after that the next step is to start prioritizing all the tasks as per the below 4 factors:
- Urgent and important
- Urgent but not important
- Not urgent but important
- Not urgent and not important
This prioritization of the task will help you understand which task is urgent and important, which task is urgent but not important, which task is not urgent but important, and which task is not urgent as well as not important.
This will ensure you are delivering high-priority tasks on time and allows you to manage other tasks accordingly. Even if you are busy doing multitasking, with this prioritized to-do list you can finish your tasks on time effectively without any mistakes.
Check out this – How to make effective to-do list?
6. Plan your entire week-
Once you created the to-do list and prioritized all the tasks as per your need then the next thing comes up which is planning your work throughout the week. Planning your entire week ahead makes it easy to multitask at work because by doing this you will get the clarity of your workflow and you can complete most of your tasks on time.
You can plan your week on Friday afternoon or a Sunday night before the start of next week. This proper planning will help you understand which type of tasks you are going to work on each day of the week? allowed time for each task, on which day you are going to work on top priority tasks and low priority tasks.
On which day you are going to work on the tasks which involve focus and decision making, which tasks you can group together to finish them back to back, which tasks you need to invest more time in, which tasks are repetitive, and when to finish them, etc, That’s how proper planning of work will provide you detail information about all the tasks.
When you plan your entire work week like this, then even if you have to do multitask at work and switch continuously from one task to another, still you can manage your work-related tasks effectively and complete them one by one.
Because you already have the plan ready, which clearly tells you which tasks need to be done on Monday, Tuesday, etc, which tasks need more focus, which tasks are high priority and which are low priority. etc. With this clear picture of the entire week, you can multitask more efficiently throughout the week.
7. Don’t take too many tasks to complete-
The biggest reason why we fail doing multitask at work is we take too many tasks on our table without knowing how much capable we are. Taking too many tasks at once can create unnecessary stress and worry. Sometimes due to emergencies, we often overload ourselves with all the tasks we need to complete each day.
This type of overload makes us completely unproductive at work and also causes a lot of mistakes at work. So make sure you should set realistic goals for yourself like how many tasks you are going to work on today? how much time each task will take or the best possible time to complete the tasks? be clear with these questions.
See multitasking creates unnecessary trouble if you are doing too much at once and not giving yourself enough time to finish your tasks. That’s why set achievable task goals for you with a realistic time frame for each task. In that way, you can do multitask without stress and also finish tasks on time with better results.
8. Delegate tasks when needed-
When you have a lot of tasks to complete in a short time period, then delegating the task is the best option to manage the multitask at work. Because you can’t and shouldn’t do all the tasks yourself, handle the tasks which match your skillset and then assign the responsibility of remaining tasks to others.
In that case, your job is to supervise them. This will help you lighten up your workload and increase working performance. Then in a short period of time, you can finish as many tasks as possible.
Check out this – How to delegate tasks effectively?
9. Improve your concentration ability-
Concentration is the most important element while doing multitasking because even if you have prioritized to-do list of tasks, you also have avoided distraction at work, you also have a plan of work, you started working in blocks of time, also group similar tasks together,
But if while switching between the tasks it’s very difficult for you to concentrate on the task at hand then in that case, all these things are just useless. Because concentration is the foundation of multitasking, people with high concentration ability can focus entirely on what they are doing at a given moment and then switch the task.
So, you must improve your concentration ability first by meditating at least 5 to 10 minutes every day, doing exercise every day, sleeping properly, listening to music, playing any sports, spending time in nature, etc. Then with that high concentration ability, it becomes easy for you to focus on the task at hand after switching.
10. Work at a steady pace-
While doing multitasking at work, it’s very important that you should work at a steady pace. Working at a steady pace means to be working at a comfortably slow pace; not rushed. With a steady pace, you can produce quality results from your work and never get burned out.
Because when you have a lot of different tasks to complete, there is always a possibility that you might make more mistakes or errors at work which leads to bigger problems in the future. In that case, you might need to re-do your entire work and waste your important time on fixing those mistakes.
That’s why work at a steady pace so you don’t miss anything and are able to complete your work to the best of your ability without any mistakes.
The truth is we can’t completely avoid multitasking in our life, because some types of work/activities in your day-to-day life always involve multitasking and we don’t have other options instead of doing it. That’s why at least we can learn how to multitask at work and in other needed areas.
So that we can better manage our daily tasks and produce good results from our work. In this article, we discussed the 10 simple tips with the help of which you can effectively do multitask at work without hampering your end results.
I hope you will start using these tips to better manage your daily work activities. If you found this article useful then please share it in your network and subscribe to get more knowledgeable articles every week.