6 Steps to Effective Multitasking

Multitasker, Duplo-Thinkpad

Multitasking is getting bad rap. We know the research: multitasking doesn’t work, it causes us to work sloppily by not focusing on one thing for the duration.


I get it. And I agree, for the most part. But we’re usually multitasking in one way or another. If one activity doesn’t require much brain power, adding another on top of it might be ok. There are some ways to do it right, and do it well.


1. Watch a movie while you clean. Clearing out your junk drawer or filing papers is not rocket science, and sometimes having an interesting  (I don’t even know what rocket science is). Pull that drawer off it’s track and bring it to the spot, right in front of the tube and next to the popcorn bowl.


2. Make lists while sitting in the car ride line. Grocery lists, to do lists, lists of important ideas that came out of that work meeting. You have lists to make. Don’t pretend you’ll ever cross everything off, just get the stuff down on paper or on your hard drive (just don’t tap the bumper of the car ahead of you).


3. Ditto for the doctor’s waiting room, the mechanic’s office, etc. We spend a lot of time waiting. Use it to your advantage. Maybe you catch up on current events, maybe you read with your child: it’s all good.


4. Supervise your children while you work. When you’re home with kids, you’re usually multitasking. You have to keep your mind on your kids while you sweep floors, prepare meals, and take conference calls. As much as we want to sit down and stare at them and their cute little actions all day, we just can’t. Throughout the day, find things your child can do to help in the same room or vicinity as you (depending on age and maturity). In the kitchen, kids can assist with meals. If you’re a Work at Home Parent, put those kids to work on appropriate tasks in the home office.


5. Listen to podcasts while doing routine household chores. Stick in those ear buds and catch up on the information you’ve stored away. Like the movie idea, it takes the monotony out of chores that tend to get a little boring.


6. Capture your ideas on the go. This could be while exercising, walking to work, or taking public transportation: check out a few ideas here.


image credit: Flickr photo by Thomas Angermann

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