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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 January 6, 2021

                14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                3. Create a System

                Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                5. Use a Ratings Scale

                Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                7. Offer Feedback Forms

                Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                9. Use Self-Evaluations

                Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                10. Monitor Time Management

                This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                  The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                  While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                  11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                  We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                  Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                  For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                  Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                  Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                  From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                  12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                  This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                  Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                  Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                  It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                  13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                  When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                  Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                  Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                  14. Use an External Evaluator

                  Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                  They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                  While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                  Final Thoughts

                  These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                  The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                  The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                  Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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