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5 Productive Ways to Multitask

5 Productive Ways to Multitask

In this day and age – where production is slowly (but surely) moving to computer programs and various other expedited means – it can be difficult for the average person to keep up. In an attempt to balance the scale- many of us have taken to multitasking as a way of life.

Multitasking has become such a fundamental part of being a functioning person in today’s society that it is now all too common. Having been popularized not only in the workplace but in our daily lives, it can be easy to become lost in the fray of action.

Though some people may have their gripes with the idea of multitasking as a way of life, the fact of the matter is, that sooner or later we will all have to make a place for it in our lives -if for no other reason than to keep up with our peers and societal demands. For those ready to make the transition, here are 5 ways to multitask better.

1. Have a plan

One of the major things that can go wrong in the execution of multitasking, is not having a plan-of-action. The idea of multitasking is to streamline a group of basic tasks in a way that is functional, actionable, and above all time-saving. By not having a plan you are essentially swinging blindly at your responsibilities.

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Rather than rushing to attack all of your obstacles at once, try taking a moment or two to think of the most effective way to begin, progress, and eventually complete your tasks. Remember, it’s never a good idea to sacrifice doing your job properly, in exchange for doing it quickly. Multitasking is meant to assist and improve your day-to-day activity – not hinder it by creating preventable problems. Having a plan of action can help you to avoid plausible complications.

2. Have a goal

Another thing to be aware of before, (or soon after you begin) your activity, is what exactly you are working towards. All too often we see people (in the office, classroom, store, etc.) who appear to be burnt out – yet are overly persistent in their need to exhaust themselves. They’re often times flustered, agitated, and generally absent-minded in their actions.

Though there could be several issues at work here – more often times than not – you will find that this is a person dead-set on completing tasks, yet they have no end-game. Their goal is to simply run until their tank is empty. This is never a good idea.

By having a goal in mind throughout the day, you provide yourself with a proper pace, clear thought, and an ability to execute precise action – because you are fully aware of exactly what needs to be done. Don’t allow the lure of seeming busy to tempt you into wildly running in circles. Set a proper goal and stick to it. Once your tasks are completed, then you can decide whether or not to add to your to-do list. Remember, those other people may look busy, but at the end of the day – it will be obvious who was more efficient, effective, and above all productive.

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3. Plan your breaks

As a sort of tangent to the previous advice – plan your break. The midday lunch break, the fifteen-minute rest, or even a moment to collect your thoughts – are all crucial parts of getting through the day smoothly. While multitasking, it can become extremely easy to get lost in the days “goings -on”. To battle this, it is recommended that instead of waiting for your stomach to growl, your body to ache, or your mind to fog – plan a break for yourself around a time that you know that you’d normally need one.

If you’re unsure when this time is, or have an eclectic schedule – attempt to isolate a similar block of time every day, and protect it. This respite will help you to power through the day’s obstacles, helping you to more easily see what’s left to accomplish, it also allows for any recalibration of your plan – if necessary.

Don’t sell it short. Breaks are not strictly for the lazy or tired. In fact, you may find that it’s the deciding factor between completing your day’s responsibilities – or not.

4. Be Present

A mistake all too common (particularly in the workplace) when concerning multitasking, is the idea that it’s okay, or even advantageous  to “zone” out into your work. This, unfortunately is untrue. Sure, if you’re an artist of sorts, it can be fun and beneficial to “lose yourself” in your project – but in the real world, it’s imperative to remain aware, vigilant, and responsive.

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When you are going without a goal, or have a plan that is not readily adaptable to new information, you are putting yourself in a position where you are vulnerable to making simple mistakes. The lack of attention to the changing environment could not only throw your entire plan of multitasking off the rails but also lead to some dire consequences.

Stay mentally present when you’re multitasking, save the daydreaming for your breaks.

5. Know when to shut off

As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, it can be easy to bring the habit of multitasking with you throughout the day. From work to home – efficiency can be addicting. It is because of this that it’s important to know when to “shut off”.

Have your daily goals set, and once you meet them – take it easy. Remember that the only reason we strive for efficient and effective execution is to save time and energy for the things in life that should not be expedited. We are multitasking to assist our downtime. Never forget to take a moment each day to appreciate your life, the people in it, and all that it’s allowed you to enjoy. That’s one thing that the machines will never have over us.

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Work hard. Live harder.

Featured photo credit: Carrie Smith via flickr.com

More by this author

Antwan Crump

Novelist, blogger, essayist, podcaster.

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It The Hardest Part of Being a Minimalist That Most People Have Overlooked 5 Ways to Beat Procrastination How to Survive the Holidays. 5 Productive Ways to Multitask

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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