Last time we talked about the negative impact multitasking can have on human body. But you cannot really get away from it, as hectic pace of life makes multitasking an integral part of our existence. Therefore, we will talk about ways to minimize the stress.
So, how to handle multitasking?
Specialists scrupulously studying the modern phenomena known as multitasking recommend using the following techniques at work:
Single tab technique
Try leaving a single tab in your browser open. Yes, you really can do it, it will only take a few days of perseverance and practice . This approach will let you focus on the specific task at hand. It will also help you wisely filter tasks by their priority and urgency. Once you are done with the current task, you can close the tab and open the next one. Following this principle will rid your brain of the necessity to switch from one task to another. This, in turn, will save you nerves and a lot of time.
By learning to prioritize, you will significantly boost your efficiency. Unfortunately, typical multitaskers employ a method of contradiction: they do lots of small unimportant tasks leaving the one serious task untouched. You can always divide all your tasks into 4 groups in advance based on their urgency and importance:
– urgent and important
– urgent and not so important
– not urgent but important
– not urgent and not so important
Obviously, you should be dealing with tasks in the order they appear above, from top to bottom. Practice shows that by structuring all tasks in that manner you can make your life a lot easier. Moving down from more important to less important tasks, you have enough time to do them all without any haste. Also, as you move down that list, tasks from the last group tend to dissipate on their own no longer requiring your attention.
Several monitors technique
Some professionals recommend using a few monitors for work, rather than just one. They say it boosts productivity without putting pressure on your operative memory. However, this approach still does not take the pressure off our brain that will still be jumping from one task to another. Therefore, this rule is quite ambiguous in terms of its usefulness.
This one is fairly similar to the previous one, but is more efficient. According to this rule, every separate task should happen in a new location. One task you complete in front of your monitor at the office, next – in another part of the city etc. Moving around gives you a chance to catch a break and effectively switch the brain from one task to another, only in a more natural way. Unfortunately, this rule is quite difficult to follow in most cases, but you should definitely try whenever you get the chance.
The Pomodoro Technique
The idea is to break the day into equal time intervals: 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of rest, followed by another 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest. Every working interval you must dedicate to working on a specific task without getting distracted. Then you allow yourself to relax for 5 minutes, and then on to the next task.
The technique is great in terms of allowing you to fully focus on the working process. The only issue here is that everyone is different. For someone, those 25 minutes will be enough for productive work, while others will be interrupted by the timer beeping in most productive moments, breaking up the working rhythm and introducing unnecessary nervousness. In our opinion, the idea of this technique is very useful and should be taken note of. The time interval, however, will be different for different people.
Something as simple as the power of motivation should never be ignored. Every employer needs to reward their employees for good productive work, and the employee must motivate him or herself in different ways. No matter if we like it or not, we are wired to function most productively when properly motivated.
The kind of motivation you choose for yourself – half an hour of your favorite computer game or a cupcake – is entirely up to you.
A need to relax is totally obvious when it comes to working in general and attempting to complete several tasks at once in particular. We can give our brain a break only by relaxing, letting it get rid of the pressure and reboot or handling a new task. A drastic change of activity is perfect for this: brain work followed by physical work, intellectual work followed by a mechanical activity.
Unfortunately, such a drastic change of activity is not always possible, but there are ways to make it work. For instance, Live Start Page app lets you turn off the brain and relax right in front of your computer. In just an instant you can travel to a seaside or outskirts of a forest, submerge into the sound of breaking waves or listen to birds singing…
And now – the most important rule of efficient work
Everything we discussed above helps you multitask while minimizing damage to your body. However, always remember there is one condition that you must abide by when really working (as opposed to procrastinating). All and any distractions should be excluded. Before getting down to work, make sure you turn off the phone or get it out of sight, exit mail programs and messengers, leave social networks, change status to “Do not disturb” in Skype, ICQ and other apps. Only in this case you will be able to fully enjoy the ripe fruit of your labor.