While multitasking is good, it’s not for everyone. If you are having a hard time dealing with different things in one go, you better assess yourself and do something about it now.
Finding out if you’re a multitasker is easy, right? You just do your thing—or things—at the same time and you can easily figure out if you’re a multitasker or not. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. By doing so, you’re putting all your pending tasks in peril.
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To see how people keep up with the multitasking age, a group of American psychologists created an online test to measure people’s skills in dividing focus without neglecting any of their tasks. Called the “GateKeeper Task for Supertaskers,” the online challenge puts the users in the shoes of a bouncer, using audio and visual cues to make sure that the tasks are done correctly. (You can take the test yourself here.) The results are surprising: They found out that only two percent of the exam takers are truly capable of multitasking, and that most people’s brains aren’t just wired for information overload.
Similarly, research conducted in 2014 at Stanford University found that multitasking makes one less productive than when they are focused on doing one thing a time.
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If you really must multitask, however, there are a few hacks that you have to master. Ironically, it will require you to stay focused on each of these things.
- Prioritize the more important tasks. If you know what tasks to put on the back burner, you can make your multitasking more aerodynamic as you can work on more important objectives earlier. When you know how to prioritize the critical tasks, you won’t just get the tougher jobs out of the way; you will also experience a sense of accomplishment once you’re done with them.
- Work on related tasks at the same time. Let’s face it: multitasking isn’t about just nailing jobs at the same time. To effectively do it, you need to streamline your workflow and make sure to move in a straight line instead of running around in circles.
- Create a routine. Some people may think that routines are boring, but creating a to-do list—and sticking to it—will make you more efficient in dealing with your tasks. When you have a routine, you can almost automate your regular tasks and throw in other tasks along the way without losing your focus on your main goal.
- Eliminate distractions. You may not notice how much time you spend checking on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. A 2013 study by Nielsen found that Filipinos spend an average of 171 minutes, or about three hours, per day on their smartphones. If you want to complete your tasks, save the likes and captioning for later.
- Know when to focus on a single task. If there are moments when you need to drop everything else and put on your blinkers to a single activity, then know when to step back and just do one thing at a time. If you force yourself to multitask even if you can’t do it, then you’ll either produce sloppy results—or no results at all.