Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to be a Multi-tasking Master

As women we are generally natural multi-taskers, but some more efficient than others!  Let me share with you a few of my secrets that keep people asking me "how do you do it all?" and how you can be a multi-tasking master.

  1. Don't ever do only 1 thing at a time-  Ok this sounds obvious but let me explain.  There are things we do every day by themselves that have the ability to do other things at the same time, but we don't think of.  For example: eating, going to the bathroom, and driving a car.  All of these things you think take your full attention and time and you can't do anything else productive at the same time right? WRONG. 
    • If you are one that enjoys sitting down and relaxing during a meal then that's fine, that can be counted as your relaxation time and is still multi-tasking!  Otherwise, eat your meal while reading the paper, or take bites between cleaning up the kitchen, I am drinking a morning breakfast shake while I write this post right now! 
    • The next one probably has you tilting your head wondering how on earth you can multi-task while going to the bathroom....... it can be done!  You can pick up things off the floor around the toilet, wipe down the counter top, straighten the shower curtain, or my favorite- sort dirty clothes into laundry baskets. Really, going to the bathroom is something your body can do without your complete focus.  All of this just depends on the amount of time you are spending there.  Lets face it, sometimes the bathroom is a moms sanctuary for a few minutes.  This way you can feel a little less guilty for spending some extra time in there because you're still being productive. 
    • And my last example, driving.  Let me say at first- do NOT text while driving!!  But, if you have a blu-tooth, it is a great time to make phone calls.  Stay in touch with family & friends- they are happy you took the time to call and say hi and you did it at a time when you could multi-task by driving somewhere.  If you have a longer daily commute like I used to growing up (30 minutes each way to school/work) it can also be a great time to refocus mentally.  I would use the time to think out any issue going on in my life and be able to come to a resolution on how to fix it, do it differently or better, plan my day/week/month/life out, or just come to the conclusion on what my opinion was on something.  I had a lot of freeway driving so you may want to make sure you don't go too deep into your mind if you're driving in traffic though!
  2. Double your efforts-  Don't waste your time doing the same thing twice.  Again, pretty common sense.  If you have stairs in your house, before you go up or down think about anything you can take with you to save a trip in the future.  Laundry basket, things that need to be put away, trash, whatever it is if you take it with you it saves you time in making extra trips up or down stairs. 
  3. Get a motivator!  There are different things that motivate people, find what motivates you and use it to your advantage. 
    •  If you enjoy going to lunch with friends, plan a lunch date and tell yourself you have a time limit to get things done.  You'll be surprised how much more effective you will be and how much more you'll multi-task when you're focused on a end result you want.
    • If you are co-dependant (like I am often), get a blu-tooth or headset for your phone and call people and talk on the phone while you get things done, or invite a friend over to hang out with you while you work on a project.
    • Turning music on can help you work faster and before you know it you're dancing the chores away!
  4. Find activities that accomplish more than one thing at a time.  For example, playing soccer or an outdoor sport with your kids gives you both exercise and quality time with your kids.  Including your kids, family or friends in things you're doing is a great way to build relationships while getting something done.  Baking, making dinner, going on a walk,  shopping, driving, cleaning, crafting, or other projects all give the opportunity to talk and get to know someone better while doing them.  (this is one reason I don't care for movies as a date night or quality time, you both sit there not talking. so yea, you spend time together but it's impersonal)  You can also find little ways of exercising while doing every day things.  If you work at a desk, you can do toe lifts from your chair, stretching and rotating your legs/feet.  There's always something you can do at the same time it just takes being aware of the possibilities.
  5. Compartmentalize-  Sometimes with a lot going on in our lives it's hard to focus on what needs to be done.  Learn to compartmentalize your brain.  If something stressful is happening in your life that you can't do anything about at the moment or need to take care of other things first, tell yourself that stressing about it will not change it and that it will be ok to set the issue aside in your brain while you do something else and you will come back to it when the time is right.  You wont be as productive if you are spread so thin that everything you do only gets a watered down version of your attention.  Sometimes it helps me to sit down with a notebook and write different lists on different pages.  So while on one page I can list all the cleaning things I need to do, and on another a grocery list, and on another bills to pay etc.  I can turn the pages back and forth if I forgot to add something to one page, but my focus is on one page at a time.
  6. Take a break- it's important to let our brain/body/soul rest and just be.  Meditation is great for this.  It doesn't have to be a long amount of time, a 15 minute meditation, a hour nap, a hot cup of cocoa and reading a chapter in a book, all of these are important for you to be able to relax and take a break so you can be more productive.  I love this website- www.americanmonk.com he has some great meditations you can listen to, the Daisy Pond is my favorite.
Hopefully with these 6 tips you can be on your way to being a Multi-tasking Master!

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