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Multitasking: what to expect and how to cope?

During fast-paced world, multitasking becomes new normal, when many people are in charge and hustling with multiple different topics at the same time. Most of the time multitasking hides behind the words like productivity and efficiency. However, even if those words are something that employers like to hear and some people are better, than others with it, is there something that should be considered before going crazy about those trends?

Many companies look for employees with fast-paced mind.

Due to the current reality, many companies look for the people that are capable to work on more than one topic at the same time and being able to adapt to the situations when the same topic is changing on the go, which makes delivery even more challenging. Often multitasking hides behind such type of skills like productivity and effectiveness. Though there are many situations when being in a place where people attention is peanut butter spread across different questions at the same time, may cause various risks.

There is a price to pay when people are spread across multiple topics at the same time.

However, all those trendy words would sound good, there are lots of consequences that may pop up, if necessary, amount of focus is not allocated.

  1. agreements lost between the chairs - there are many situations when due to huge amount of information or wide spectrum of responsibilities, there are many things that have been agreed are forgotten, this way additional discussions may be needed - which is time and money for every organization.

  2. high stress level - people who are in charge of multiple topics at the same time, most of the time need to be very sharp and be capable to turn their brain from one to another - this leads to people being on the edge and experiencing high level of tension.

  3. topics delivered not with right quality - when focus is spread across multiple questions at the same time, there is no chance that all questions will be delivered with best possible quality, therefore organization should answer the question - how many and what mistakes they can allow to happen and where it is better to have specialized person for certain things.

  4. not all risks understood while making decisions - yes, there is no time for long discussions sometimes, but, if chosen way is - quick decisions -, it may bring many unknown risks that may hit extremely painfully, therefore every organization should have set mandates for every level clearly.

Different measures could be used to keep up with the reality and stay productive.

  • timebox your day for every question in the calendar and stick to it - it is important, if you planned to spend specific amount of time on certain topic, do not open your outlook, do not read chat messages, do not pick the phone call - just work on what you planned.

  • prioritize all the questions from the point of urgency and complexity - work on the ones that are most burning and most time requiring first - you will feel more relaxed when you will know that less complex topics are waiting rather than wise versa.

  • plan at least for week ahead - every Friday, before going to weekend review the calendar and plan it accordingly.

  • block focus time in everyday calendar, which supposed to be used to read email or company news, to think about potential improvements in your area of responsibility, to attend trainings or in worst-case scenario to put out unforeseen fires.

Final thoughts. In this world when so many topics are changing at the same time people must handle and cope with lots of different information at the same time. These situations do not go without any consequences to the organization or employee, therefore it is important to measure what is the potential price to pay, if there will be one specific person running multiple things in the organization. And additionally for employee to adopt necessary measures that it would help to cope with fast - passed environment.


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