Have you ever found yourself juggling a bunch of tasks at a time and thinking “Wow! I’ve become really great at multi-tasking”? I’ve certainly experienced that. So imagine my surprise (and consternation) when I came across this little nugget of wisdom released by experts – multi-tasking does not get things done faster. In fact, these same experts claim that multitasking reduces productivity by about 40 percent. So the next time you start juggling tasks, you must ask yourself, “Am I doing myself more harm than good or is this what I should be doing right now?”
What is Multi-tasking?
In the technical sense, “multi-tasking” means doing more than one thing at the same time. This involves switching from one task to another until all of them are done. For instance, you answer calls on RingCentral Virtual PBX and reply to emails as you work on your PowerPoint presentation for your weekly meeting. On paper, this sounds like a good idea – you get more things done by switching from one task to another as you go through a multitude of tasks each day. Boredom does not become an issue; and it appears like you’re going through your to-do list at an amazing pace. However, experts disagree – the proof is in the end results!
Does It Really Work?
Switching from one task to another opens up windows for distractions, including browsing on Facebook, surfing the net, or sending out a few Tweets… before you know it, you’re no longer multi-tasking work; you’ve included distractions on your plate. This not only makes your work harder so you could finish, but also takes up most of your precious time. In practice, multi-tasking does not make your work better – it only appears that way.
Different Folks, Different Strokes
There are those who thrive by multi-tasking though, claiming that they are more productive and their end results are excellent, thanks to multi-tasking. If you’re one of these people, then kudos to you! After all, we’re each wired differently and each one of us has a unique gift. For a select few, multi-tasking is a gift!
The good news is that there are some helpful software and online tools that enable us to focus on one task at a time. These help us manage our to-do list so that we accomplish everything that’s on that list from A to Zed. Here are 3 of my favorite online applications for juggling tasks every day:
This nifty tool allows you to manage each task by spending an average of 25 minutes on each task with 5-minute breaks in between. If you need more than 25 minutes for a certain task, you can simply restart your timer; and off you go. I find this very useful, especially when writing articles. I usually set my first timer for research and the second one for writing. Then I set aside my article, work on another task, and go back to the article, set the timer again, and edit my article. So far, so good!
I find this online tool very handy when it comes to planning my day because I have a way to tick off what I have already accomplished. Yes, I still like seeing my to-do list on paper (the transition is not that easy for me) because old habits die hard; but Wunderlist is slowly growing on me and I find it easier to track my progress now. No more sticky notes all over my desk (this used to drive my boss crazy!) and no more mess. I just have to wean myself from my cute notebook that holds my physical to-do list.
This is my favorite among all the software out there. For people who heavily rely on research like me, this application is a lifesaver, not to mention a space saver. It enables users to save everything from URLs to articles, from websites to notes and pictures. You can even add your own notes; include tags to help you with your research, and include anything else that will help you with your work.
So there you have it. These 3 applications are the main tools that I use every day to help me manage my many daily tasks. How about you? Do you multi-task? What helps improve your productivity? Care to share?
Chiastine Ross, a freelance article writer and contributor who focus more on technology, mainly Gadgets and all the latest trends which are interesting for readers and tech enthusiasts. You can reach her through Facebook, Twitter and Email.