If You Must Multitask, Here's How to Do It

Everyone knows by now that multitasking isn't actually more productive. You feel busy, but in fact, you're just spinning your wheels -- or worse, making mistakes that you wouldn't have made if you were able to concentrate on one thing at a time.

multitasking 

(Photo Credit: ryantron/Flickr)

Unfortunately, most of us will have to multitask at some point or another. The trick is to figure out how to do it without screwing up or tanking your productivity completely. Over at the Jane Dough, Sarah Kaufman addresses this issue by offering five ways to multitask. Here are a few more ideas for when you absolutely have to run on all cylinders.

1. Understand that true multitasking isn't really possible.

You can't, literally, do two things at once, any more than you can occupy two spaces at the same time. But you can switch back and forth between two projects during the same block of time. The key is to make it as hard as possible to get confused about which project you're looking at.

2. Use technology to keep your tasks separate.

Running from one thing to another will always come with a certain amount of risk for error, but if you can work in separate areas, you might be able to keep things neat. One idea is to open separate browsers -- not tabs -- for each online project. If you work online, this also enables you to check buggy sites in different browsers quickly.

Others swear by the multitasking power of dual monitors.

3. Clean up your desk.

Physical clutter makes it harder to concentrate on one task, never mind several. Organize your environment, and you won't get distracted as easily. Not to mention, it's easier to find what you're looking for when everything's neat -- and when you're trying to do two things at once, you don't want to give yourself another opportunity to forget what you were looking for.

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