I took a couple of weeks off and during that time I kept thinking about all the things I needed to do after going on vacation, especially all those emails. So today’s blog is on multi-tasking, and just what is multi-tasking?
So it’s Monday morning and you have emails, texts, scheduling, meetings, and more meetings, calendar updates, budget, and I could go on and on. My solution to all of this is that you can’t do it all at once, and that is where I think some people get confused with multi-tasking. You open an email, the phone rings, and one of your staff asks you a question. You certainly can’t do all three at once, and if you do, who are you cheating? So to me multi-tasking is to finish the phone call first, then answer your staff question, and then on to your email.
During my many reads of Sam Walton’s book on his life, Sam definitely had to be a multi-tasker running a giant like Walmart. Sam had a yellow legal pad that he started the morning off with, writing down everything that he needed to do that day. If something else came up, it went on the legal pad, and at the end of the day, whatever was left went on the next day’s pad.
I have tried to follow that pattern myself, only I have upgraded from the yellow legal pad to my iPad and the nice thing is that I can also use my iPhone, so I will always have my notes close by. The biggest challenge for me is the calendar.
In my office I keep two calendars (easy cling, thanks Max Asinger) on the wall for the current and the next month. I also have a calendar on my iPhone and iPad, so I shouldn’t miss any events, right? Wrong! As hard as I try, somehow I always seem to miss something. That is where multi-tasking can get you in trouble. So when that happens, I just regroup and say to myself, “Make sure you write down immediately any appointments, and make sure it goes in your iPhone calendar.”
I just pulled up multi-tasking on Google, and this comment made me laugh, because it really relates to my last paragraph: “Missing multiple appointments and meetings and forgetting important things regularly could be a sign that you are juggling too many tasks at once. It helps to keep digital calendars, to-do lists, and various reminders that essentially multi-task for you, make you look like a great multi-tasker, and insure that you don’t miss anything important.”
So I need to practice what I preach, and although I think multi-tasking can be good, you also need to slow down and make sure that you are not overextending yourself!
Finally, here are three tips to be a better multi-tasker:
1. Prioritize your tasks.
2. Deal with things one step at a time.
3. Don’t allow yourself to get stressed out.
Let me know if this helps you in your everyday activities, and if you have some suggestions for better multi-tasking, drop me a line!
See you next Friday!