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8 ways to improve your multitasking game: infographic

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If the issue of multitasking has been somewhat demonized lately, for many of us it remains not so much a favorable option as an indispensible part of our arsenal.

Whether functioning alone as a self-motivated powerhouse or within an organization, multitasking is probably part of your day-to-day norm. Your ability to switch between tasks, co-ordinate your attention between different clients and collaborators, and to manage the various evolving digital and real-life facets of modern business, is likely your most underrated feature.

But multitasking without getting completely swamped is one thing: multitasking productively is quite another feat. If you’re familiar with the feeling of discovering you’ve overlooked an important deadline, or your brain has come to a standstill because you’re juggling too many ideas at once, you’ll know why multitasking has such a bad rep these days.

The solution is not to drop the technique altogether, but to multitask smarter. Multitasking does not mean doing everything at once, regardless of the circumstances: think of it more as eclectic scheduling. Plan it in advance. Allow realistic windows for each of the tasks that you want to work on, and make sure you leave time for housekeeping tasks (such as keeping up with email or updating social media) as well as a buffer zone for unforeseen issues. And don’t allow those deadlines to all bunch up into the same day or week: divide your time carefully so that if you get bogged down by one particular job, the rest of your deadlines don’t get dragged under with it.

It’s also important to allow for breaks. We each respond to different break patterns so find what’s best for you: for example, a five minute break every half hour, versus a fifteen minute break after each 90 minute session. Use your break wisely by getting some fresh air; stretching your legs, and thinking about something other than work.

Finally, don’t forget that we already have a name for the best multitasking system that exists: teamwork. Multitasking within a team means that sometimes rather than complete a task personally, you instead take personal responsibility for making sure it’s done. That means identifying the best person to do the job, ensuring they understand the responsibility and the timeframe, and coordinating delivery times so that team projects can be executed with maximum efficiency and mutual understanding.

The best first step you can take towards maximizing your multitasking powers is to put some time aside to ensure you’re doing it right. One way or another, we always end up multitasking: you can take your professional performance to the next level by making sure you’re doing it right. Take a look at this visual guide below to multitasking effectively, and apply each of the principles to your new schedule.

Courtesy of: Pound Place

About Marilyn Vinchy

Marilyn Vinchy is a freelance writer and HR specialist. She works for several marketing and public relations agencies, supporting their content teams. She writes about leadership, careers and personal development, and has a knack for productivity and time management techniques. You’ll find her on Twitter here, and you can also visit her blog.

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