Multitasking isn’t easy. In fact, it’s quite hard and can often feel overwhelming. When you have several important tasks due in a limited period of time, it’s extremely important to be organized on your list of tasks so that you know how to most effectively approach them. Learning how to multitask will increase your productivity and reduce your feelings of stress because you’ll understand how to make better use of your time, including the required time to complete each task. We all know that there’s not enough time in a working day to accomplish all that we have to do, but there are ways to work more efficiently so that we can accomplish goals more effectively.
Because multitasking can be tough, this article is going to cover 10 useful hacks to improve your multitasking and boost your productivity so that you can tackle your to-do-list with more tenacity and a lot less stress.
10 hacks to get better at multitasking
- Set realistic goals
- Give yourself enough time
- Create lists
- Always prioritize tasks
- Plan your week in advance
- Try task batching
- Work at a steady pace
- Avoid distractions
- Take regular breaks
- Delegate when possible
1 Set realistic goals
The first hack to getting better at managing multiple tasks at the same time is to set realistic goals. You want to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success and not creating an impossible goal to hit. When you break down your goals and create a solid, realistic action plan to reach them, the process becomes a lot easier. When you set realistic goals that are attainable, when you do begin to cross things off your to-do list, you’ll feel more motivated to continue working towards accomplishing the number of tasks that you’re working on completing.
Stay on track
Keep up with all your action items in one place using a tool like Fellow to take control over your day.
2 Give yourself enough time
In line with setting realistic goals is ensuring that you’re giving yourself enough time to actually complete what needs to be done. Always plan more time than you anticipate will be needed because unforeseen obligations always come up and you also need to account for some time to take breaks, whether it’s grabbing a coffee or going for a walk. It’s unproductive to keep working without a break, because this tends to lead to burnout. Think about the required time to complete each task and from there, add on some additional time to be sure that you’re going to hit your targets.
3 Create lists
Lists are a fantastic way to keep organized. It’s easier than ever to create lists with the organizational technology that is available to keep us on track. You can use Fellow’s streams feature, which helps you to organize all of your ideas, from to-do-lists to team OKRs. Streams are digital notepads where action items and ideas come together to inspire productivity. Creating lists help you keep on track, help you to organize important tasks and help you switch between tasks more effectively, without losing track of other items that still need to be completed.
4 Always prioritize tasks
Make sure that you’re actively prioritizing your tasks. When you prioritize tasks, you improve time management and reduce stress because you know that you’re working on the most important and most pressing task. Understanding how to prioritize your work can seem pretty daunting when everything seems equally important. It simply takes some time and thought to consider which task is the most pressing and then listing out the importance of tasks as they follow that first item to complete. In order to manage your workload and ensure you are hitting your deadlines, it is important to find a prioritization method that works for you.
5 Plan your week in advance
Another great hack in order to keep more on top of your daily or weekly tasks is to plan your week in advance. It’s a good idea to take some time every Friday, at the end of your work week and to write out what needs to be completed in the following week, with specific dates. An efficient way to plan the week ahead is to check-in with your teammates and see what they have on the go. This way, you can work together to accomplish tasks and divide the workload to effectively achieve organizational goals. Once you’ve spoken with your colleagues, it’s time to solidify your to-do-list for the week ahead so that Monday morning, you’re ready to hit the ground running, completing one task at a time.
6 Try task batching
Another great way to improve your multitasking is to try task batching. Task batching involves grouping similar tasks together by common skill, function or anything of similar nature. When you organize tasks that are related to one another, it helps identify the most pressing tasks and also gives clarity on how your tasks are connected. This activity also helps maintain your focus and enhances productivity. You can also batch your tasks by the amount of attention your tasks require, such as urgent to low concentration activities. Task batching works as a team activity, where you can group team responsibilities by category and function as well, so that everyone is on the same page and aware of what their co-workers are focusing on.
7 Work at a steady pace
Working at a steady pace is another great way to effectively multitask. When we have multiple tasks to get done, often we end up rushing through them in order to complete these responsibilities as soon as possible. The issue with this is that the quality of work is negatively impacted, seeing as mistakes become more common and we feel the pressure working against the clock. When the quality of work isn’t up to company standards, you’ll have to re-do the work, thus making your rushing completely counterproductive. Working at a steady pace means that you won’t miss anything and so that you feel confident in the quality of work that you’re producing.
8 Avoid distractions
Avoiding distractions is an absolute must as you handle multiple tasks at the same time. The human brain can only handle so much information and stimuli at once, so if you’re already juggling several important tasks and then distractions arise, it’s going to be extremely difficult to keep your focus. When you know that you’ve got a lot to get done, be sure to block time off in your calendar and let your colleagues know that you need to work undisturbed for X amount of time, unless it’s an absolute emergency. You can listen to music, try some earplugs or use noise cancelling headphones to really narrow your focus and get your work done. Make sure to put your phone away and avoid falling into scrolling social media aimlessly. Processed information is better stored and retrieved when we are free from distractions, so when you avoid disturbances, you create better learning opportunities for yourself.
9 Take regular breaks
You can also improve your multitasking skills by taking regular breaks. When you take regular breaks, you diminish the risk of losing motivation and experiencing burnout. It’s simply not productive to work continuously throughout the day without taking breaks. Working without taking breaks is counterproductive because your work quality will suffer when you don’t take some time to unwind, away from your computer. Schedule short breaks for yourself throughout the day and even consider getting them into your calendar so that when your reminder notification pops up, you honour it and step away from your desk. Taking time away from your work will allow you to come back to your tasks feeling refreshed and ready to identify any errors or modifications that you may not have noticed before.
10 Delegate when possible
Performing multiple tasks simultaneously is difficult. One way you can increase your productivity by delegating when possible. Delegating tasks to other team members that you can count on is an important skill to master. Assigning responsibilities to your team empowers them and builds trust within the team, while also growing personal development, because other people are given new tasks to accomplish. This is a great learning opportunity for employees to diversify their skill set, learn something new, or deepen their knowledge in a particular area. It can also instill advanced knowledge as colleagues are given new responsibilities where they can develop their skill set. When employees know that you have confidence in their abilities, they are more likely to feel motivated and more likely to work harder.
Learning how to multitask is like learning any other skill: It takes time, effort and persistence. The benefits of mastering multitasking are extremely beneficial as they increase productivity and reduce feelings of stress. Managing multiple tasks at once is especially important when you have a specific time to complete particular responsibilities. If you can improve your multitasking, you create space to expand your competencies, learn new skills or deepen your knowledge in a particular area. Where managing many responsibilities at once can feel quite overwhelming, implementing the strategies mentioned in this article will leave you feeling more at ease with your list of tasks.