Importance of Multitasking for Leaders & How To Go About It

leadership 24th March 2017 Ruchira Karnik

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In the age that we live in, working professionals need to get a large number of inevitable tasks accomplished within the limited set of working hours they have. Focusing only on one task could equate to lower productivity levels which most organizations regard as unacceptable. This means that every individual needs to execute more than one task at the same time or to say ‘Multitask’! No matter how much stress is laid on the importance of multitasking, it isn’t enough. But, let’s still keep going forward and see how you as a leader can multitask your way to success and achieve more through the day.

Prepare a to-do list

Every morning make a list of things that you need to complete that day. Preferably, start off by writing them down in a diary. Research shows that written goals are better than unwritten ones since they provide you with more clarity and also free up your mind helping you pull up your thinking to the things that you need to focus your attention on. At least, as far as work is concerned, maintain a diary religiously. If you don’t like recording things in a diary, you can even use a mobile phone or online tools to keep a track of how you can better plan and organise your day. These days, you also have applications which help you keep a record of how productive you have been during the day. If you’re tech savvy, try using them to your advantage.

Once you’ve prepared a handwritten to-do list put it up in a place that is visible to you in the chaotic office environment. This way, you can stay on top of your work.

Task prioritisation

Before you take on a task, know its importance and how it would affect your day if you took it upon priority. Prioritising your tasks will help you get the important and crucial activities out of your way first. It helps create time for the minor things which can be accomplished in a comparatively lesser time and would require lower levels of focus.

When you take up an important task, make sure you tick that off your list (complete it in totality) and then move on to another task. Complete the work with single-mindedness, preferably in tandem with your body clock cycle, so that you are at your mental and physical best when you are working on the task. The logic behind this is fairly simple. Important tasks need much of your concentration and focus and should be completed when you are fresh. Even if there is something urgent or pressing, keep it on the backburner and make sure you go back to it once you have completed the task on hand.

Related: Office Hacks: 7 Apps to Organize Your Work Better

To stay on schedule, take a break

Doing the same set of tasks for a prolonged period of time results in fatigue and exhaustion which culminates to stress. Research shows that energy levels in a human body decline every 90 minutes. This cycle follows a pattern. This little fact highlights that you need to re-focus your attention on the task that you’re doing. You may think you can keep going on doing one task after other, but you should resist the urge as this may pull down your performance and may impact activities that you have planned for. Take a coffee break or go for a walk and get some fresh air, but it important to time them and not wander aimlessly. Small and regular breaks will help you replenish your energy reserves.

Related: 4 Ways to Effectively Manage Time

Know how to deal with interruptions

Interruptions, while you are at work, are common. They could be in the form of telephone calls from a client or internal vendors, emails, messages on social networking sites or even time waster colleagues. Firstly, to manage interruptions, learn to say no to things that are unimportant or unnecessary. Emails from clients whose work is not as important as the task at hand, or a request to complete tasks when they can be handled by somebody else are common examples.

Related: How to Stay Focussed at Work and Beat Distractions

Deal with time wasting colleagues smartly. There might be colleagues who engage in small talk but they forget to keep it small. If you can’t reach a solution, ask the interrupter to move straight to the point. Simple steps like these can be quite handy in enabling multitasking in the most efficient manner. It is not only crucial for leaders to be able to multitask well but also to do that in a smart, collaborative way.

How important is multitasking in your day-to-day life? If until now you didn’t know how to go about making more time and get more work done, this list will certainly help you keep up. After all, as leaders only you understand the importance of multitasking and keep the engines running.

A version of this article was published on People Matters.

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