Darkness. You’re in the middle of a tunnel. A train is approaching. This is it! A bright flash. You wake up to the fear of deadlines. All the working papers, assignments, and other reports are all supposed to be dressed up in formals, yet you are still far behind; page one, maybe two.
Not everyone is born a multi-tasker. But multitasking is a trait that can be developed with constant effort. As we grow into a dynamic world with the pace and pressure increasing by the minute, it becomes inevitable to develop the skill of managing multiple tasks simultaneously.
The academic scenario is no different. Students all over the world are being educated in a manner aligned with the idea of productivity. Targets and deadlines are assigned for each report and assignment. Keeping up with the deadlines and targets is as crucial for students as it is for the corporate executives or managers.
Multi-Tasking – the Art of Working Smarter
Multi-tasking is not about taking up and finishing tonnes of work quickly by employing many hours of hard work. It means making an optimized list of tasks and getting them done elegantly with minimal work.
If you take a look at a person well known for multitasking abilities, you will see that they work with elegance. It is great just to watch them work. It is about striking a perfect balance between the quality and quantity of the work done and the optimal use of time.
How to Manage Multiple Tasks Simultaneously
1. Planning Ahead
Running multiple tasks concurrently requires thorough, efficient and constantly revised planning. As the list keeps growing, it is vital to ensure that the planned flow of activities is met and items are duly struck off the list. It is also essential to review and revise the strategy from time to time. A sound strategy would involve:
- Having rational selection criteria to filter in only those tasks which are essential or which can be effectively managed. Taking up unproductive activities should be avoided.
- Considerations for compatibility. Similar tasks or those which are compatible with one another should be run together.
- Timely execution and follow up matters.
- Multiple reviews and preparation of the final draft.
2. Getting Organized
The first step in the execution process is getting to know the complexities of the project at hand and breaking them down into simpler, manageable units like milestones, task lists, etc. This will also help in tracking your productivity in the future.
As discussed earlier, compatibility plays a crucial role here, because dealing smartly and efficiently with recurring issues needs a thorough idea of the nature of each task enlisted.
3. Keeping Focus
If you look closely at an efficient multi-tasker, you will see that he/she is not multitasking at that very moment. You will find him/her fully immersed in whatever task is at hand. A lot of multitasking is about maintaining focus. Multitasking involves shifting and bringing back focus in a rapidly-changing environment.
Following methods like the Eisenhower’s matrix where you divide your tasks according to their importance and urgency can help to keep focus according to the degree of relevance.
4. Visualizing Progress and Tracking Time Using Available Tools
No matter how motivated you are, it is always important to seek additional motivation from the completion of the work itself. It can often be a huge turn-off to see stuff lying around and a lot of tasks in the pending list, if there’s no attention paid to the ones completed. You may have covered a significant chunk of activities and still be worried if you do not know the size of the work you have completed.
Visualizing your progress by using spreadsheets and charts or graphs made available in a task management software is greatly necessary to keep yourself motivated and right on track.
5. Efficient Communication and Collaboration
Being a team player is how you enhance the benefits of being a multi-tasker. No matter how good you are at work, if you fail to communicate, all the good work done, it gets ignored. It is essential to present the work in a self-explanatory manner and explaining the fine details effectively.
Collaborating and developing strong partnerships can help in getting around complex tasks.
“Esprit de corps” is a French phrase and one of the 14-administrative principles laid out by the 19th-century French management philosopher Henri Fayol. The principle states that group cohesion enhances productivity. The motto should always be “Don’t just survive, thrive!”
Plan Well to Achieve The Impossible
Managing multiple tasks at the academic level is the right time to prepare oneself for the deadline-driven professional world. If you consider that every task just needs to be taken apart and studied to be ready for execution, to begin with, things turn simpler thereon.
Look at some of the great architectural marvels – pyramids, castles, dams or even great art films that resonate with people for years to come. They are all results of extensive planning and multitasking performed by skilled individuals who rendered their art by working smartly. The formula to success and increased productivity is fine craftsmanship coupled with efficient and effective planning. Gather your skills and get into execution mode with a well-planned approach to create high results.