Are you a multitasker? What does that mean to you? To me, it means doing more than one thing at a time in order to be more efficient. The idea is that if I use my time wisely, I will have time to do what I enjoy most -- coach! Sometimes it works; other times, my multitasking simply helps me to keep my head above water.
Multitasking is a great skill to have and use. But how do you develop it if it doesn't come naturally? Many organized, responsible, dedicated people are not natural multitaskers. And, for many of these people, the last thing they want to do is learn how to multitask; to them, it's like committing to flossing one extra time each day -- why would anyone WANT to do that? But for those of you who are interested in honing this skill, read on!
I like to break goals (like learning to multitask) down into two parts: our external actions and our internal thinking. Let's talk about the internal thinking first.
Unless there is clear value that you can identify for yourself out of doing something a different way, you probably won't do it. Bummer. But, there is hope! You can create value. Take a few minutes to write down some positive outcomes that might show up in your work life when you become better at multitasking.
Now let's look at the external actions. What are the habits of a multitasker? The fastest way to become a multitasker is to act like a multitasker. How can you begin? Here are some more multi-tasking tips:
1.) You CAN take it with you. You know you need to do it, but don't know when you will have time? Whether you need to drop off a proposal to a prospective client or your clothes to the dry cleaners, put it all in your car. You might have an extra 15 minutes at some point in the day and be able to zip on over there. If you are prepared, you can take advantage of these unforeseen moments.
2.) Do your own thing. Don't wait until you are sitting in the doctor's office or having your hair cut to realize that you could be reading that article, drafting a letter, or writing the speech for your networking meeting. Have something to do all the time -- it will save you time later.
3.) Going my way? If you have an appointment across town, what else can you do while you are there? Do you have someone else to see or an errand to do in that neighborhood? Schedule your appointments and errands geographically, particularly if you live in a place in which getting around is tricky (got it, New Yorkers and Los Angelenos?).