If you want to be more efficient, having the right brain isn’t the only solution.

What is Multitasking?

The idea of multitasking isn’t new, and it’s basically defined as your ability to do more than one task at a time.  People have been talking about it for years, often claiming it is the key to productivity.  However, not everyone is able to think about multiple things at once.  Other people claim their brain is built for multitasking!  And while multitasking sounds like a way to make us all more efficient, the reality can be the opposite.  Often, multitasking spreads us too thin, and we can feel like we never really get much done. Even if you are the rare individual who can have 10 things going at once, you may not be as productive as possible. The problem is that effective multitasking requires both good technique… and the right tools.

The Technique:

As far as technique, the wrong way to approach multitasking is to do part of one task, then put it aside and do a bit of the next, and so on as you rotate among tasks.  While you have several tasks going at once, you’re not really saving time.  Doing 10 tasks this way, each of which takes 1 hours, will still take 10 hours to complete all of them, and you will probably lose extra time trying to change gears.

A better technique is to first start any tasks that will require you to wait on something before you can resume the task.  While you’re waiting, start the next task that requires you to wait, and so on. This way, you can gain all the waiting time by filling that time in with other work. The only downside is, as you have more and more tasks in play, you need to continually check to see which tasks are ready for you to resume.  

The Right Tools Are Better Than Good Technique!  

Even if you’re a brilliant multitasker, able to easily switch between tasks without losing time, you still need to be well-organized.  How are you identifying which tasks you need to complete?  How are you prioritizing those tasks?  The best tool we can recommend is having a “dashboard.”  Dashboards can show you which tasks need your attention first, rather than requiring you to constantly search your data to figure it out.  A “smart” dashboard knows which tasks will require you to wait on someone else and can prioritize those tasks for you to do first.  A dashboard can also notify you when the task is ready for you to resume, instead of you having to check.  Dashboards can be added to any application or workflow, making it easier to know which items need your attention next.  They can coordinate work between employees and even other departments. Smart dashboards take the effort out of coordinating multiple tasks, removing complexity and helping you stay focused on the right task at the right time.  If you aren’t already using a dashboard, it may be time to explore how easily it can be added to your system.  Your productivity will thank you!

Published by Adam Brown

Adam M. Brown is Vice President of Sales at EM Squared Inc., a custom software developer in Atlanta, GA specializing in business automation, mobile applications, custom integrations and the Internet of Things (IoT). Since 2001, EM Squared has served business clients and their IT teams by providing better integrated software, enabling more cohesive workflows, and removing unnecessary system constraints. Our deep experience with business systems may provide the answers you seek. Consultations are free and you can reach Adam at 404-556-5417 or email adam.brown@emsquared-inc.com.