Be a masterful multitasker in just 4 simple steps!
I actually love to multi-task. It makes me feel productive. As a mum, I prefer to embrace it or I'll get very little done. Like fitting in a HIIT workout while the kids eat their dinner. Or Facetime en route to dropping kids off at nursery. I have set big goals for myself this year and if I want to achieve them I've chosen to squeeze every minute out of each day to inch towards reaching them. Multi-tasking isn't for everyone though, it can feel stressful or chaotic to some. Women, generally speaking, seem to be pretty good at multitasking ( whether we like it or not ). And men are much better at focusing on one task at a time. I remember my mum being the ultimate multitasker when it came to cooking, entertaining and looking after her guests. It was an impressive invisible blur of spinning plates whilst she’d pour my next glass of wine with a breezy smile and shoulder squeeze. Every one has to multitask at some point, or all the time.
There is a downfall to multitasking. It can become a little ridiculous if I'm not organised. The brain can actually only really focus on one task at a time. I have been guilty of multitasking to the point of madness which has led me to spreading myself too thinly, making mistakes and/or forgetting to do something entirely. But thankfully now I feel like I have found a middle ground, most of the time. My level of madness is putting my dirty plates in the clothes washing machine and tv remote control in the butter compartment of the fridge, oh and.. I left the stroller on the side of the road once, thankfully remembering to put my child in the car before driving off! I initially blamed this on baby brain. But actually, I've also taken on so much more. As a busy women, businesswoman, opportunity seeker, mum, friend, wife, fitness and health enthusiast, there are times when I'm simply overwhelmed. But I have things to do and achieve, I have goals and deadlines, so my list of things to do isn’t likely to change for me right now. It’s about how I manage and move through the chaos while keeping myself ( and others ) sane.
2016 was by far the fastest year I have known in my life. It literally whizzed by. If I look back I had some masterful multitasking moments which meant I could move aspects of my business and personal goals forward whilst out on a run with my kids in the park. Technology has given me the power to do many things at once. I get a buzz from seeing things happen quickly. It feels productive and fast paced. But I do have to map out my day, each day, to really be able to perform multiple ‘things’ within a day, whilst also looking after my boys. I do have days when the cogs just aren’t firing up though and I have to listen to my body, assess the situation to slow down and listen. 2016 was an insanely busy roller-coaster timeline of peaks and troughs, small wins and setbacks. Boy, have I learned a lot! Especially about being mindful of finding true balance in my life. Which is also a very personal to the individual.
Personally, I like to say yes to most opportunities, and then figure it out the logistics later. My head is often a psychedelic swirl of ideas, to-do lists, don’t forget lists, conversations replayed and conversations unsaid. You might ask, where is the space and the quiet time to just be, be present and be still? I have to make this space and find this precious time. There is no way I could prioritzse the to-do’s if I didn’t take just 10mins in the morning upon waking, to literally sit there, with eyes closed and well.. do nothing! Just be, be mindful, meditate, breathe, un-think. It’s not easy as the mind can yell and scream, but this stillness really helps quiet the noise. It also helps me keep the basic things in life right, like putting the dishes in the dishwasher and the tv remote on the coffee table. Eureka!
If you are like me and have shed-loads of things to do, here are my top 4 tips on how to be a multitasking goddess:
1. Get up earlier, make time. Practice mindfulness or meditation. I'm not a meditation master, so Headspace is perfect for people like me. It’s guided 10mins of bliss! I have this on my phone too, so I can literally do this anywhere.
2. Keep your to-do list very visible and in your line of sight through out the day. I love my pin-board in my kitchen. I stick lists and 'notes to self' that I can see all the time. Many times in the past have I written a list and then closed the note pad to then later forget I even wrote one!
3. Bundle similar tasks together where possible. This helps the brain move fast between each thing or action. So if you are spinning plates like me, create a personal schedule Mon - Sun, block out time each day to commit to small goals. If you love lists then this is for you bulletjournal.com. It's next level organised! The simple act of ticking them off feels soooooo good and it keeps you moving forward if even only a little.
4. Use travel time and the technology at your fingertips effectively. I like to use sitting on the train, tube, bus to read and write notes of things I have to review or do. I also use walking between places to make calls or leave voice messages when I can’t write. Using headphones so I'm hands free is awesome! I sometimes make short calls while I’m on a run or on the cross trainer at the gym. The heavy breathing always gets a giggle.
And if everything falls apart and my best laid plans just don't happen then it's probably for a good reason. I adjust course and take the learning from the day. Also there is something to be said for literally looking out the window and dreaming too. Whatever floats your boat, sets your dreams on fire and moves you forward.
Hope this helps you in your busy life? Would love to hear what multitasking skilz you have! Please comment below.