It´s 8:30 am and i´m checking all my Google analytics, going through my mails, got my water going and my to-do list ready to go, i´m chatting to the people in the office sending them work for the day and checking some of my Google reader articles and bookmarking them for later… all this whilst checking the billing and blogging at the same time. Yes… I am, the true multi-tasker. Now if I was at home, I would throw in some breakfast, some CNN, I´d be feeding the cat and putting some clothes in the washer whilst I make my bed :o)
How so I do it? Organization I think… I have been so used to doing so many things at the same time that now I just do it without thinking. Many times I have been asked to give tips on how to multi-task so I have decided to go ahead and write some up. Of course, this is the way I do it, doesnt mean all apply to you but if you follow one or two I am pretty sure it would make your day a little bit more productive.
Ann´s list of tips to becoming a true multi-tasker:
1. Believe in yourself, think multitasking and you’ll be able to do it.
2. Never leave for tomorrow what you can do today, don’t procrastinate! Answer that e-mail now, make that call now and eventually you will have some extra time at the end of the day.
3. Go wireless. If you work at home, a laptop will give you the mobility to take care of other tasks whilst you’re working on something.
4. Set yourself with some simple guidelines. Be social at work but keep it short and sweet, this will help you not to get side-tracked and will allow a healthy balance.
5. Keep a notepad close and write down anything you think you might forget, keep going back to it before the end of the day. It will also become useful to jot down phone numbers or other notes keeping them all in one place.
6. Keep a To-do list, it only takes 5 minutes of your morning and you can tick things off during the day, it will be there the next morning to finish your tasks.
7. Set your e-mail manager to check your mail automatically every minute.
8. Answer the urgent, easy and small e-mails on the spot, tag the longer ones for later and go back to them before the end of the day.
9. Stay free of distractions, keep your desk simple, clean and free of clutter thus leaving you to focus on your work.
10. If you use online messengers, open one for work and a personal one, this way you can focus on your work and not feel you need to chat your friends in the meantime. (You will also not have people from work chatting you when you are home chilling.)
11. Order your files and avoid wasting time looking for documents or files on your computer.
12. Use your tools! The vast amount of online tools are too many to list, make good use of your Outlook calendar and task lists, bookmark your articles on Google Reader, bookmark interesting websites on your browser… or maybe use Google Office or install post-it notes on your desktop, use whatever tools you think might help you be more efficient.
14. If you’re assigned a simple task, work on it a.s.a.p. and don’t leave it on your to-do list together with more complex ones.
15. Does music help you focus? Buy a small pair of headphones and use them when you need to block people out and concentrate.
16. Use your windows! Use tags on your browser and don’t close a page if you need to get back to it. Same with chat windows, leave them open if you need to be reminded to get back to that person before the end of the day.
17. Always take notes, on paper, on your desktop or on your calendar… do it even more if you’re forgetful.
18. If you’re stuck, take a break… 5 minutes to clear your mind is more efficient than 3 hours of unsuccessful brainstorming.
19. Go tech! There are so many gadgets now a days that help you keep track of your duties during the day. Buy a palm phone or an iPhone and make sure you use all the available widgets and tools. You driving and suddenly remember to do something? Stop, pull over and jot it down on your phone, syncronize the next day and it´s on your calendar.
20. Pay attention!! I bet you didnt notice that #13 is missing on this list… LOL
21. Don’t stress, prioritize, get organized and if you ran out of time, there’s always tomorrow…