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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

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                Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                The Neurology of Ownership

                Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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                Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

                Reference

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