Top of many potential employers’ list is a candidate who is able to multi-task. But there is a huge difference between juggling several tasks at once without making much headway and being able to completely manage your workload.
Master the art of multi-tasking and you’ll become more efficient at work, improve your performance and grow your career.
Are your expectations achievable?
Take time to plan out your week in advance and make sure that what you set out to do is realistic and achievable. The satisfaction of powering through your to-do list will be far more motivational than staring at a long list of tasks that are never likely to get completed.
Be realistic with your time
Time is a hugely important factor when it comes to your ability to multi-task; firstly you must be realistic about how much time each task will genuinely take to complete to the right standard and secondly, you have to be sensible about what time you have available to you. If you know you are going to be attending several meetings during the week, plan out how you can best use your remaining time to avoid rushing to get things done or missing deadlines.
Write things down
It can be easy to forget about a particular task so write a list by whatever method works best for you – there’s lots of helpful online tools available and for some, nothing beats a simple handwritten list. Taking the time to think through what needs to be done will reduce the likelihood that something will slip your mind.
Get your priorities right
Look at each task in terms of how long it will take and what deadlines you are working towards. Also consider whether you need information or input from elsewhere to enable you to move forward. If you require contributions from other team members, make sure you ask for these with plenty of advance notice so they can plan their own workloads accordingly.
Try not to worry about what you are not doing
Having a clear focus on the task in hand is essential so try to allocate each task on your to-do list to a particular day of the week or time of the day. Knowing that you are not going to work on XYZ until later in the week will allow you to concentrate more effectively on what is your current priority.
Two birds with one stone...
Look for efficiencies by grouping similar tasks together. For example if you know you need to speak to several clients across the week, try to set aside a morning or afternoon to schedule these all in to avoid repeatedly breaking off from other tasks.
Give yourself a break
Multi-tasking isn’t about burning yourself out or rushing through tasks as quickly as possible. Make sure you take regular breaks – including a proper lunch break – you will be more likely to keep a clear head and complete tasks more accurately and efficiently.
It can easy to become distracted from the task in hand and emails are one of the most likely causes. Allow yourself regular points in the day to check your emails rather than reacting to every notification as they come in and take you away from what you are doing.
Let your colleagues know if you need some quiet time and if possible, move to a different area of the office or pop in some headphones to reduce the sound of others. If you want to avoid being disturbed, ask for messages to be taken on your behalf or set your phone to voicemail.
Also remember to communicate regularly with your team to make sure that your timeframes are coordinated to avoid any last minute panics or repeated requests for updates.
Be disciplined with your time
Unless something needs your immediate attention, try to stick to your proposed schedule as much as possible. It can be worth keeping a little time free during each day to deal with things that need to be looked at more urgently or that crop up unexpectedly.
It’s OK to say no
Sometimes it simply isn’t possible to squeeze something else into your day – and that’s OK. It’s better to say what is possible from the outset rather than agree to every request and produce work of a lower standard or miss a deadline completely.
Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of finance and accountancy professionals. With offices in Leeds and Sheffield our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for temporary, interim and permanent roles across the full spectrum of positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond. CONTACT US today and speak to a member of our team about your next career move.