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Multi-Tasking August 7, 2009

Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources, Motivation.
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Who out there multi-tasks? I confess that I do – or at least I try to. Even in light of information (such as this article I read today) that show multi-tasking to be inefficient, I still believe I can do multiple things at once.

In looking over a typical day, however, I have discovered that there are ways I can get two things done at once without actually doing them both. While these won’t work for everyone’s situation, see if they may at least inspire you to accomplish more.

1) Wash laundry/dishes while working. Yes, I know this works only if you work from home (and works better if you have a washer and dryer in your home so you aren’t schlepping your work along with dirty clothes), but if you do, this is a great way to get multiple things done at once. Put the laundry on or start the dishwasher, then go to work. If you are really organized, pick items on your to-do list that you should be able to finish about the time the wash is.

2) Cook dinner in a slow cooker. This works whether you work at home or not. Put dinner in the slow cooker first thing in the morning, then forget about it until time to eat. I love not having to stop work to prepare dinner (since late afternoon seems to be a very productive time for me), and my home smells great all day. Need recipes? I’ve tried several from A Year of Slow Cooking, and haven’t been disappointed yet.

3) On the phone and on hold? How much time do we spend doing this? What can you do with this time? How about clean out your inbox? Don’t try to tackle any email that you have to think about and answer, but see how many can be deleted or archived. Go through and find the 2 or 3 most urgent to work on after you get off the phone. Likewise, take a paper folder or two and clean them out.  Anything you instantly know can be thrown out, do it! If you’re not sure, save it for another time when you can give it your full attention.

4) If you’re trying to sort out some complex answer and the ideas just aren’t coming, take a break from work and go outside and do some physical activity. Doesn’t have to be strenuous and it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time, but I find that going for a walk or a swim while taking my mind completely off the problem will at the least put me in a better frame of mind when I go back to it. And sometimes, solutions appear I hadn’t even thought of.

Those are some ways I’ve found to be a more efficient multi-tasker, but I’d love to have more ideas. How do you get two things done without having to work on both of them at once?

Edited 8-13-2009 – I found this article, and found it had some great tips in it. I really like the way it  looks at multi-tasking certain tasks and mono-tasking others.

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