When ‘multi-tasking,’ we’re essentially giving the appearance of handling several things in any given allotment of time. You can only really do this three ways:
- Do things sequentially (say, in the course of the hour, day, week, project, etc.)
- Do things by jumping back-and-forth (often necessary when waiting on subordinate or tangential deliveries that feed into any specific item, or answers, etc., on any given thing).
- Delegate and collect (the finished task, or its state of progress for your next level of involvement).
So – learn how to delegate and prioritize tasks, and give them the respect of focus, to avoid wasting time.
Become adept at prioritizing “on the fly” (and re-prioritizing) with accuracy – as stuff streams toward you, particularly unanticipated things; resolve or assign them quickly and accurately. Also, is any particular thing merely “routine,” “emergent,” or an “emergency?” That will factor into priorities, task focus, and assignations.
When interrupted with things, become adept at plugging back in to what you were doing before the interruption. Some folks take awhile to regain their center, to find the place where they left off, etc. Others can execute about-faces with military precision and focus, almost like a drill. Get tips and tricks from these folks. My tip: A pot of coffee. Seriously – if I’m in the middle of something, making good progress, and I have a creative flow in hammering out some really good service/solution, and someone knocks on my doorframe – I state bluntly, “Can this wait?”
Usually, the answer is “Yes” – or there’s some grace of space in which to address it; in which case I say “Come back in an hour” (in the afternoon; tomorrow, etc). Of course, with all due civility and respect. :^ )
Multi-tasking? It’s all how you define it
NP: Stanley Turrentine; Stan “The Man” Original 1960 LP.