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7 Tricks Expert Multi-Taskers Never Told You

7 Tricks Expert Multi-Taskers Never Told You

One admirable quality that successful people share is the ability to multi-task. However, it would be an incorrect assumption that they became successful due to the ability to multi-task. It is not something we are born with, but rather an approach we are forced to adopt to. In other words, you do not have more free time if you are able to multi-task, but you are able to multi-task because you are running on a tight schedule far too often. In regards to that, the end product of multi-tasking can never trump in quality, compared to what you would have achieved if a certain project had your undivided attention.

multi-tasking is a necessity, a skill usually developed after our initial achievements – it is also the reason why some lines of work, who were praised for their quality during the very beginning, start to lack their prior excellence. In other words, multi-tasking sometimes means sacrificing quality for quantity. However, honing your trait also means that less and less quality is sacrificed with each attempt, whereas the portion of the delivered quantity remains the same. Here are some examples of expert multi-taskers, and how their success is closely connected to this ability.

They Segment the Copious Tasks, and Stack Compatible Jobs Together – Project Manager

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    One form of increased productivity is when you are able to identify compatible elements of multiple assignments, and find out how to manoeuvre your work so that you complete more than one task simultaneously. If you can execute this, then it is safe to say you would be a great project manager. Competent project managers are constantly coming up with tactics for the most efficient, and energy conserving way to tackle more issues, or one copious issue. I can exemplify this claim by using a personal story.

    I work as a creative writer and most of my jobs include product descriptions for various clients online. Every now and then, deadlines start to overlap, which means that I need to pick up the pace significantly.  Luckily, with multiple clients come multiple demands, or in my instance multiple types of products waiting for their description. These descriptions also warrant an adequate amount of research in order to be insightful and unique, thus for the sake of reducing the amount of time required for research, our project manager assigns me those products that are either from the same niche, or have some degree of synergy. The only drawback is that products, more closely related to the research I’ve conducted, have somewhat more insightful and detail-oriented descriptions, leaving one client very pleased with the job done, whereas the other one is simply satisfied, but not impressed.

    Our project manager does an impressive amount of work, he goes through all the codes of different clients, classifies the products in relation to their niche, and gives each of us assignments that are now related to researching and writing about particular topic. He also classifies assignments based on difficulty and importance, then makes sure the most arduous of jobs are done first thing in the morning while we are still all fresh and energized.

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    They Plan out Their Day, Using To-Do Lists – Housewives

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      When it comes to art of multi-tasking, housewives are the unrivaled champions of the domain. I am referring to the housewives that spent most of their day taking care of children, driving them to school and switching to chores and house maintenance afterwards. There is no need for a story to demonstrate this – I have recently moved out to live with my friends, and so far, we are having a hard time maintaining the house properly, to say the least. Our to-do-list seems to be ever-growing which is quite overwhelming.

      I can only imagine what it’s like during celebrations, like birthdays or holidays. The amount of food that needs to be prepared, and the amount of tasks around the house increases significantly, I have never tried that level of simultaneous work – preparing more meals, organizing decorations, cleaning, rearranging furniture, shopping etc. Doing this successfully means you have incredible time-management skills and focus, which is why we (me and my friends) end up outsourcing a portion of our chores.

      They Entertain and Advertise – Vloggers

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        A great number of people, myself included, spends incredible amounts of time on YouTube, browsing different channels, and viewing vloggers talking about all kinds of topics. We mostly do it for the purpose of education and entertainment, but make no mistake, vloggers are so much more than teachers and entertainers; they are amazing multi-taskers.

        YouTube is the 3rd largest website on the World Wide Web, yet some people manage to create such channels that are compelling enough to make substantial amounts of profit. This is not done simply by recording something you are good at, and uploading it. It takes so much more efforts, and strategy. After all, the profit comes from YouTube marketing, and to be noticed in such a vast community is actually a lot of hard work. It only appears to be sheer luck, but in reality, there is a whole procedure behind a single video with viral potential. Moreover, one viral video does not count as success. Audience or subscribers, and consistency are true parameters that define a good channel.

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        You need to find something you are really good at, as your topic, and find a way to make it interesting to an even wider audience. For example, if you have a good sense of humor, use it, make masses laugh, but at the same time try to incorporate more serious topics, and address serious issues to keep people informed. Use a lot of visual aids, and work on your performance. People like Ray William Johnson, John Oliver, Nice Peter, etc – they all have YouTube channels that attract audiences via humor, but at the same time, offer such a wonderful insight on topics like history, current politics and news, discrimination, etc. If you are able to create such a versatile channel, you deserve to get paid, these people only seem like they are goofing off, but they are actually doing more than one job simultaneously.

        They Utilize Technology, and Stay Vigilant – Bloggers/ Freelancers/ Business Owners

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          Have you ever wondered how truly ambitions people always have high positions in some firms, but somehow, when you meet with them outside of work, you feel like you share the same level of competence. You start to wonder – why did other people find that person so reliable? You also have acquaints and friends who could probably outclass the individual in question, yet he or she is their superior.

          The truth is, skill and knowledge are not the only factors influencing success; mindset plays an important role, as well as the ability to multi-task on numerous online fronts. People who carry the status of a professional worked on their professional reputation, they went an extra mile to leave a good first impression, and made sure it stayed that way. Do not be envious, but rather learn from them. Nowadays people can find out a great deal about you, or to be more accurate, assume a great deal about you, simply by looking you up online.

          Your social media profiles, they can represent you as a professional, and at the same time make you look like a childish alcoholic, if you allow everyone you ever knew to tag you. We see things like these on an everyday basis, people adore a good gossip, and when someone is hungry for attention, that person may conjure up all sorts of stories. You can easily end up being accused of something that makes no sense, and whether you like it or not, people will start to doubt. A renowned businessmen, ambitions cadets, and successful freelancers, all work on their online reputations. They leave no stone left unturned and use reputation software on all fronts, never dropping their guard.

          They Implement Group Work, While Socializing – Students (Study Groups)

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            During your studies, you probably experience what it means to multi-task for the first time, especially when mid-terms start to draw near. These pressuring moments make us utilize our full mental capacity and discover a glimpse of the so called “holistic learning.” We devise a tactic in which subjects are compatible with one another, and try to find the way to explore their synergy. This is why group work comes truly in handy when facing a mid-term crisis.

            In order to make the best out of your remaining time, organize a study group, then distribute which group member should cover what. The point of this multi-tasking exercise is to master a portion of exam material to the point where you efficiently transfer that knowledge to your colleagues. Then organize a couple of study session, to thoroughly share your portion of material, and try to unify the knowledge into a whole. Honestly, it may be far from perfection, and you might not pass with flying colors, but if failure is not an option, this is the best way to avoid it.

            Moreover, if it’s your freshmen year, this is a golden opportunity to socialize with new colleagues while learning. Having reliable friends and contacts, is yet another important part of success, and these people are interested in the same niche, making them potential co-workers in the future. All things considered, these are relationships of great importance.

            They Try to Express Themselves and Remain Loyal to Their Audience – Artists/Designers

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              Good artists and designers are indeed gifted, or a talented group of people, with a very wide and deep emotional spectrum. It takes special kind of work and a skill-set to transfer a portion of that complexity to a piece of art, which can evoke or inspire the observers to experience a part of the artist’s inner being. These gifts deserve to be nurtured, however, when musicians, graphic designers, writers etc. are working for someone, a problem emerges. Employers, or clients usually demands what artists need to do and very often the type of work only uses a small portion of their true capacity. People with great skills are not fond of their name being diminished.

              Artists and designers therefore multi-task all the time, they are trying to find the way to fulfill their job, and, at the same, personalize it and give it a portion of their own creative spark, so that in the end, they can be, to some degree, proud of such work. These types of things can be really difficult due to the numerous restrictions, holding back the artists. However, such types of tasks can ultimately awaken true creative potential. Working under restraints, forces you to delve deeper within the borders of the task, and thus give more depth to your end product.

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              I suppose the main character of the movie “Forrest Gump” perfectly illustrates what is implied here. The character is an embodiment of the true beauty and brilliance of simplicity, a true work of art. Of course, the creator of the character was not ordered by anyone to make Forest that way. The point is, even when something seems limited, you can find more than meets the eye, once you give it more thought and chance.

              They Work on Themselves While Polishing Their Performance – Actors/Entertainers/Stand-Up Artists

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                Finally, this is a rare and hard to master form of multi-tasking, it utilizes your cognitive and physical abilities at the same time. Before this kind of lifestyle becomes a routine, the life itself is a living hell.

                Anyone who went to the opera or theater has very likely seen at least one play, where one or more actors are at some point crawling authentically, and are either singing or talking loudly at the same time. We usually don’t give it much thought since we are fully immersed in the show and its plot, but this type of multi-tasking is extremely difficult. Focusing on your movement, breathing, lines, and loudness, not to mention tone, all at the same time, and executing the scene flawlessly, is without a doubt awe inspiring.

                If one is to be capable of such a feat, it requires a great amount of fortitude, which means working out, countless drills to memorize the lines, and lastly, extreme mental tenacity to combine the two. The echoing applause live performers earn after each spectacular show is well earned and completely justified, because they experienced intense hardships to impress you.

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                Djordje Todorovic

                Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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                Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                1. Start Small

                The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                Do less today to do more in a year.

                2. Stay Small

                There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                Why?

                Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                Peter Drucker said,

                “What you track is what you do.”

                So track it to do it — it really helps.

                But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                Peter Drucker also said,

                “What you measure is what you improve.”

                So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                For writing, it’s 500 words.
                For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                6. All Days Make a Difference

                Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                Will two? They won’t.

                Will three? They won’t.

                Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                What happened? Which one made you fit?

                The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                10. Punish Yourself

                Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                11. Reward Yourself

                When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                In the End, It Matters

                What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                Keep going.

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                More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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