Multitasking is a common strategy to try to deliver tasks on time. Do you know what the number one excuse to not complete something on time is? Yes, you guessed it, it’s a lack of time. Time management skills are critical for personal and professional success. Single parents and entrepreneurs are among those who need time management super skills.
The way you handle time determines whether or not you complete all the tasks you have scheduled. Being organized is one of those skills that help to manage your time better. Most people think that multitasking is an ability that helps to increase productivity but is not.
What science says about multitasking
People who multitask decrease their productivity by 20-40% and are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time. Time lost switching among tasks increases the complexity of the tasks (University of Michigan)
Research in neuroscience tells us that the brain doesn’t do more than one task at a time. Each time we move from one thing to another, there is a start-stop process in the brain. In other words, each time you change tasks, you have to refocus your brain and determine what to do. Multitasking should be called switch-tasking and does not help productivity. For better time management, try the following things.
Skills you need to master time management
- Practice 5S in your office or work area
- Organize your meetings and tasks throughout the day. Meetings are better early during the day because the time leading up to an event is often wasted.
- Separate your routine, automatic tasks from the strategic ones. Strategic duties usually need a higher level of focus, schedule them for the daytime at which you are more productive.
- Choose one subject for the day, for example, on Monday I work with everything related to budget and Tuesday is for project updates.
- Know your priorities and identify how you will measure progress. Assign deadlines for everything.
- Identify the most important things for you and mark them on your calendar or agenda with a special color. Develop the habit of working with those first.
- Goal Setting
- You have goals for your business, and you also have personal goals. Keep an eye on both, create the habit of reviewing them periodically.
- You cannot work with all at the same time, divide your goals for the year into smaller time buckets.
- Prioritize your goals while dividing in buckets, your yearly goals into months, month goals into weeks, and weeks into days.
- Be realistic while planning your daily activities. Regardless of how well you organize and plan, things happen.
- Make time for the unexpected, plan for not more than 4-5 hours of work per day.
- Remember those priorities? Always know the one thing you need to get done during the day and do it as early as possible.
- Communicate your priorities, goals, and plans with your team or family. Let others help you to be on track for success!
- “If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate!” – John C. Maxwell
Remember, working more hours does not make you more productive, neither does multitasking. Work smarter, not harder!