As the leader of three companies, my day-to-day is often pretty hectic. Between strategy, team-building, meetings and managing my teams, it often seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
To counter this, I find multitasking the best way to achieve all my tasks on my busiest days. Although, multitasking isn’t for everyone, I’ve found the following useful ways to make the most of my time.
Multitasking doesn’t mean everything has equal priority. I begin my day by prioritising what needs to be done first. Sometimes this is dictated by deadlines, other times it’s the size of the project. I’ve found that tackling my most important tasks in the morning helps set the tone for my day.
Make a to-do list
Being able to see all my tasks written down in front of me makes it easier to prioritise and gives me a sense of accomplishment being able to tick them off. There’s nothing worse than knowing you have lots of work to do, but not being sure what that work is. I keep a running list of my tasks next to me at my desk, and every morning I re-write what I need to do for that day.
Group tasks together
When switching between tasks, your brain has to adjust to concentrate on each one. This can take a toll on your focus, memory and energy. But, by working on similar tasks together, it’s easier to concentrate to get them all done. I find it useful to complete similar sections across multiple projects simultaneously, or work on similar topics across projects.
Set aside time for complex tasks
This takes a bit of planning ahead, but buffering in extra time to complete complex tasks has saved me on a number of occasions. It’s never good when you’re in the midst of an important planning session or section of writing and you’ve run out of time. Allowing extra time for big, multi-faceted projects means you aren’t rushed to get them done and can give them your full attention. And, if you end up finishing them early, you have extra time up your sleeve for other things!
I mean, actually take breaks. Not when you’re answering emails on your phone during a commute, not when you’re on the phone to someone while eating lunch. I mean take time to do something you enjoy and focus on it. This might look like meditation, reading a book, talking to a friend or going for a walk. Whatever it is, take time for yourself to switch from work mode to relax mode, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Not only will this give your brain a break and re-set you for your next task, it’ll also help prevent burn out.