Many people often ask me how I manage to do so much every month and still look calm and positive, so I thought I’d share some of my personal pointers that work for me as a career mum who loves to do a lot of different things within the same time period. I juggle between doing blogging, marketing & PR work, Malta TV hosting and producing, being a mum and I also give importance to my hobbies and time for my personal development. I love to be social so that means a lot of social appointments for both work and my personal life.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not about piling on the work to the point of exhaustion. Believe it or not, one of the keys of knowing how to multitask effectively is to actually slow down every so often, to accomplish more. By this I usually mean scheduling time to sit back to be able to strategise better, to act out of love vs fear, to enjoy what you are doing and to stay focused on all the tasks at hand that month. I do push myself to almost exhaustion sometimes, but then I realise – Hey! Slow down and re-focus, rest to be able to get all fired up AGAIN!
Wearing Carla Grima Atelier / Jewellery Gemstones Malta
Multitasking is a part of our fast paced world. If you want to succeed, you need to learn how to multitask so it doesn’t overwhelm you and cause unnecessary stress. By simply slowing down and working up to the performance level you desire, you can multitask effectively and increase productivity.
Everyone’s energy level is different, but try to understand what you need to do to maintain your highest level of mental functionality to last you all day long. That will be your key to multitasking success.
Useful things I do to multitask effectively
• Start Your Day Early
One thing I have found important to get so much more done in a day is to wake up early (sometimes as early as 4 or 5 am) to slowly work on the things that I would not want to do during the day. Waking up early allows me to not only clear some things from my head first thing, but I find I have enough comfortable time to enjoy my healthy habits including a morning jog with the family, a meditation session and sometimes a little reading on a subject that interests me. As many parents out there are aware, it is when the children are asleep that you get your alone time. By 7.30 am we’re out the door jogging and I would have already tidied up the house from clutter, checked my emails and my calendar for the day and prepared my daughter’s lunch box.
• Begin with an old fashioned list on a diary and Get Organised
I know that this might sound old school to many of you because you prefer typing notes in your Smartphone, your PC or your Google Calendar. Me? I start with a lovely list in a good old fashioned notebook. This will include an unorganised list of personal goals, shopping lists, lists of people I want to meet, lists of things that need doing urgently, lists of others that can wait, list of things I wish to do for myself, lists of things I wish to do with my husband, lists of things I wish to do with my daughter, my parents and also a handful of friends I love to spend time with.
After this I spread the unorganised list into organised lists and start spreading them into the calendar based on appointments made with the persons in question that month. Once I get these lists, plus enter dates of events and dates of lessons such as gym sessions, dance classes, singing classes, I feel more organised and I feel confident to get working on various projects with dates on them and deadlines.
My week actually begins on Sunday, so I make sure I spend two to three hours on Sunday night to prepare things like school uniforms, plans for the week, writing cheques that need posting, preparing all the laundry and have the house all in order free of clutter, kid all prepped for school the next day. I have found this to be extremely helpful with my current lifestyle.
• Take a brain break
I love to take brain breaks. What do I mean? I get a pump of energy from it. Most of us work like crazy and forget to breathe. Employers offer their full-time staff a lunch break throughout the day. Do you take your lunch break? Use break time even if you don’t want to leave your piling work on your desk, get up and do walk around the office building or your home if you are studying in a toxic room, sit outside, or just close your eyes and meditate.
Try not to use your phone at that time as it defeats the purpose of your relaxation time. I have learnt that to function at peak levels on a consistent basis, regular breaks are essential! If you are a student and you are sitting down for many many hours, how can you absorb into that brain of yours more information if you have not gotten up to breathe some fresh air and lied out in the sun for at least 10 minutes twice a day? Inhale the air feel the warmth of the sun against your skin and imagine how many beautiful things you are gonna do when your exams are over this semester. Immediately you feel better. Take brain breaks ladies and gentlemen!
• Set Your Priorities
Think of your brain as a computer. If you are working within multiple programs and you have numerous windows open on your screen, so you can quickly jump from program to program, you may find that your computer has a higher tendency of locking up. That is, when you have a hundred windows open at once on your computer, and you attempt to pull up your word processing document, it’s not uncommon for your computer to run slowly or to totally freeze up, often causing you to lose all the data since your last “save.”
The same thing happens in your brain. When you are performing multiple tasks that require your undivided attention, your brain gets overloaded, as it can only process information from one channel at a time. Therefore, do not multitask if the assignment requires your full attention. Once that urgent or detailed task is complete, then you can go back to doing the other tasks you normally do. This step will save you lots of rework, as you’re more prone to make mistakes when your brain is overloaded.
I also like to set my priorities when it comes to my life and work goals, so if on one particular week I really push my limits and work very hard, thus not meeting my daughter and husband very much in the evenings, I will make sure to schedule time the following week totally dedicated to them and they will be my priority that week. I choose to live my life fully and I will not allow work to be my be all and end all. For me success involves finding that Balance.
• Shift multitasking to single tasking
Did you know that the human brain uses more energy than any other part of the body? As such, it needs constant replenishment. Therefore, rest is one of the key ingredients to increasing personal energy and productivity. So every two to three hours, stop stressful situations and excessive multitasking and allow yourself to do just one thing for fifteen to twenty minutes.
At the end of this rest period, you’ll feel refreshed, alert, and ready to tackle more tasks—and you’ll do so with fewer mistakes than if you plowed through your tasks.
In my case, although I do manage many tasks each week, I will not work on them all one the same day but I will focus my energy on getting them kicked off on a Monday for example and make sure I close them by Friday or within a fortnight for example. That puts much less stress on myself and I can enjoy the other things I m doing on different days. Does this make sense to you? Can you apply it to your business or lifestyle?
• Don’t leave email sitting in your in box
The ability to quickly process and act on formation is one of the most emergent skills of the professional world. Do organise your emails in file folders. If the message needs more thought, move it to your to-do list. If it’s for reference, print it out. If it’s a meeting, move it to your calendar. Just don’t leave unattended e-mails for the next day.
One thing young people are really good at is only touching things once. So my recommendation through experience is to take action on an email as soon as you read it, even if it’s sending an acknowledgement to inform sender you have seen it and will revert back soon. Keep your e-mail inbox clear every day, if possible.
• Create a Good Support System
If you are a working parent, like myself, it is really important to create a system around your children’s school schedule and activities, to enable you to be more efficient. Sometimes it is more viable to get help from someone than trying to do it all yourself. With help, you are able to do much more and keep focused on the tasks from your to-do lists!
Hope this has helped you a little. Was fun sharing these personal tips with you. Speak to you all soon! Up next is an interview with a queen of multitasking! So … stay tuned! xxx
Wearing: Carla Grima Atelier / Shoes: River Island/ Jewellery: GemstonesMalta
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