Tips and tricks on how to accomplish more with multi-tasking.
They often say that multi-tasking actually isn’t possible, because you can only really pay attention to one thing at any given time. I am here to tell you as a working mom, that multi-tasking is not only possible, but necessary. While I believe it is true that you can only put all your focus on one thing at a time (especially if that thing is children), with the right organization, you can accomplish several things at one time, by pairing high-attention activities with other things that don’t require much thought, and by planning carefully. Here are five tips on how to properly multi-task.
The best way to multi-task is to group activities together. Focus on two activities; one that requires your attention, and one that you are able to do on auto-pilot. For instance, you can catch up with your family on your drive to work (hands-free of course), pump milk while doing your makeup, play soccer with one kid while the other is at soccer practice, or run your children to school (nice, quick exercise) while they ride scooters. I make a habit to drop my car off the night before, so I can go straight to work from their school.
Schedule and prepare for a work out at a minutes notice. If you always keep gym clothes on you, or pack extra clothes in car, you can get exercise at a moments notice when you have a free second. My suggestion is to keep a work out calendar, and write down all of your impromptu exercise so you can reward yourself later.
Know your downtime, as it allows for quick meetings, lunch with friends, or working lunches, which I always enjoy. Try to proactively schedule meetings rather than let someone tell you at the last minute-as it avoids canceling patients, or keeping you from spending quality time with your kids.
Outsource extra work with quality people and services rather than saving a couple bucks. Having four children means that our nanny has to be Super Woman! She is an absolute star and I never have to worry about my children when I am gone. It allows me to focus on my work without stressing if I forgot to pack my child’s backpack appropriately, left the correct bottles for my baby, or remembered if school is out two hours early. Keeping the wonderfully talented people in your life happy is worth it’s weight in gold because it takes much more time to clean up after a sub-par job by someone than paying for an expert to get it done right the first time. In regards to this, try not to micro-manage- as it will counter balance having help if you are constantly thinking about smaller tasks you cannot accomplish your larger goals. Surround yourself by people you don’t have to micromanage. Many of us are controlling and need to work on allowing help in our lives. This is a very valuable lesson I learned the hard way.
Plan plan plan! I check the weather and put all four of my children’s clothes out the night before, as well as packing their backpacks. I also plan how I am actually going to try to sneak lunch the next day. I set an alarm for 4 am and sneak in writing my blog from 4-5 am, then go back to sleep for an hour. I have everything on my phone—To-do lists, calendars, notes for meetings so that I don’t have to search multiple notebooks, sticky notes, and large calendars to know what I need to accomplish.
The most important part of multi-tasking is staying organized and flexible. If you want to get more out of your day, you need to be able to adjust your schedule at a moments notice to add in smaller tasks when you have extra time. As we all know, time is the most valuable thing we have, so hopefully these tips will help you make more out of yours, and give you more time to spend with your family.
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