photo credit: pexels
Some experts will tell you that multitasking is the way to success. Others will tell you that it scatters your brainpower resulting in compromised performance on all fronts.
The reality is in fact an eclectic mix of the two. Yes, you will have to manage multiple tasks in order to be successful, and yes it will affect your performance if not done well. A fine balancing act is necessary to make multitasking work.
The great news is, though, that almost all successful people you can think of, have had to multitask their way to success at some point in their lives. If they can do it, so can you.
There are ways to multitask efficiently and organize your priorities in a way that lets you rock at all of them without losing your mind. Not enough people have the luxury to dedicate all their attention to only one thing. You will have to manage several different commitments at once. So whether you are a freelancer, entrepreneur or the next Elon Musk, an organized approach will let you get more done without stressing you out.
Among all the things you need to do this week or this month, there is one thing you need to do now. It is absolutely essential to start each day with a list of priorities so you know exactly what needs to get done first.
So you have current client projects with pressing deadlines, you have a website you’ve been working on for weeks, and you need to take out time for prospecting new clients as well. There’s also that online certification course you’ve been trying to finish. Without a plan in place, you might randomly spill your attention to each task and end up finishing none.
Completing the current client requirements is your number one priority, so you must absolutely do them first. After that you can move on to prospecting and later to the online course and the website.
Now that you know what needs to done first, you can forget about the other tasks for the moment and focus a hundred percent of your effort on just the one thing. This will help you finish that work faster and then, you can move on to the next task with all your focus on that. Scattering your mental energy by doing one thing while thinking of another, brings no good.
2) Schedule Time for Ongoing Tasks
Prospecting for new clients or growing your network are the kind of things that go on continuously. They need to be done all the time and you can’t really put a deadline on them. It is therefore crucial to schedule a time window for them.
You could set aside an hour everyday for prospecting alone. This way you know that you have to send out those pitches, proposals or cold emails during that time. For the rest of the day, you could focus on the day’s requirements.
3) Cut off the Distractions
Honestly, quite a lot can be done in 24 hours. It’s just the spate of distractions that eat into our working hours and reduce productivity. Yes, you need to take some time off and just hang out with friends or even spend time on Facebook. But even those activities should be scheduled away for a certain hour of the day, so that you don’t find yourself checking for notifications when you are supposed to be working.
There are quite a few apps that can help you with this. Check out apps like Anti-Social to block out certain sites that tend to distract you, for certain specific hours each day. Or you can use Freedom to block the internet altogether for up to eight hours at a time.
4) Theme Your Days
This particular trick comes directly from Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Co-Founder of Twitter. As a man running two major companies simultaneously and rocking at both, Dorsey must be doing something right. In an interview with Techonomy, he revealed that he themes his days, setting up Mondays for Management and running the company, Tuesdays for Products, Wednesdays for Marketing and so on. You too could try doing that if you have far too many commitments that cannot all be fit in one day every day. Lots of discipline and practice is – according to Dorsey – what it takes to cut it.
5) Get a Head Start on Your Day the Night Before
Mornings are busy to the level of being chaotic, at least for most people. If you find it particularly hard to really organize your mornings, it is a good idea to do what Barack Obama does. You could spend an hour every night planning your next day. You could rifle through paperwork and prepare for a client meeting the next day, sort out your engagements and already prepare your list of to-do’s and priorities. In fact you could in fact decide what you are going to wear and eat in the morning, so that these mundane decisions don’t slow you down you in the morning.
6) Pencil It in
Mental lists don’t always work. It is easy to get so engulfed in one task that you lose track of time. It is important to have physical reminders of all the things you need to do. Write them down and hang up the list. Use apps like Todoist that help you schedule tasks and create checklists. You could even set up audio reminders that ping their way to grab your attention.
7) Get a Perspective
Take a step back and get a bird’s eye view of the larger design. Why are you doing the things you are doing? What is your end goal and how is every little step you take, moving you closer to it. You need to get a clear sense of purpose. Only then will you take on every commitment with positive vigor. Without a clear vision of where you are going, every step will seem like a drag.
So visualize your goal. So you want to make your startup cash-flow positive within the next six months. Or you want to hit a certain benchmark within a year. Or you want to quit your day job and become a full time freelancer making a good income. Whatever your goal is, you must have a clear perspective of it at all times.
8) Learn To Say No
As a freelancer, there are no limits to how much you can do. However, ambition can sometimes make you bite off more than you can chew.
You are already buried under client work when another client comes knocking. Saying “no” may be the hardest thing. How can you turn down business when you know how hard it is to get?
However, taking on more work than you can handle will only make the quality go down, affecting all your future prospects. Learn to say no when you absolutely have to.
Multitasking is an indispensable necessity for ambitious folks. If you are a freelancer, an entrepreneur or anybody hoping to break free of a mould and carve your own success story, you will likely be juggling multiple projects at the same time. The above tips will help you multitask more efficiently without compromising your performance or losing your sanity.
Bio: Brian is the owner of Ponbee, a blog that shares useful resources on motivation, inspiration and success. He likes to write about self-improvement and achieving excellence, and believes that it is these qualities that ultimately make people successful in life. Apart from that, he is also an internet enthusiast and enjoys updating himself on everything that contributes towards creating rewarding and wholesome lives.