Here’s the truth: the nine hours you spend in the office is never enough for all the reports, emails and meetings that are squeezed in a day. This doesn’t mean you have to slave away in the office till the wee hours. The key lies in multitasking. However, contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not an innate gift, but a skill that people should hone to maximize its effect. The trick in multitasking is discipline and making smart choices. Here are a few tips in multitasking to lessen the need for overtime.
Preparation is Key
Know what you need to accomplish by the end of the day, and then divide it into manageable chunks that you can schedule at timed intervals. Give yourself a schedule of tasks throughout the day so you won’t waste time thinking about what needs to be done next. Having a timer application in your workstation is very helpful too since this shows you how much time you actually take in accomplishing your tasks.
The Two-Minute Rule
Sometimes even the best schedules get disrupted. When emails pop up or documents that need your signature follow the two-minute rule. If the task that suddenly surfaces takes less than two minutes, do it immediately so you don’t have to keep reminding yourself throughout the day. If it takes more time, discern the importance of the task and find a way to fit it into your schedule instead.
Distractions don’t have to be a waste of time
Sometimes we get stuck with mentally tasking activities in the office that we feel like we deserve a break. When you find yourself bogged down by looking at Excel worksheets, stop and give yourself a functional break. Instead of taking ten minutes to surf through your favorite website, walk over to your office mate and plan that office party that you’ve been putting off for weeks. This way you can give your mind a break by doing something different, but at the same time you get to tick something off your to-do list.