Multitasking is not what you think

Multitasking doesn't work. It doesn't even exist.

Before you exclaim Wait, but why? - here's the quick explanation. The concept we used to call Multitasking does not refers to the actual doing of several activities at once. While you can argue that brain does many operations - you actually realize only one of them at once albeit quickly switching between them. Literally jumping all over the place all the time. Fun, Fun, Fun!

Modern life demands us to be faster, bigger, stronger and more and more competitive. The more you do the more you get. Sort of. The downside of this activity is exhaustion. You use more of your resources to switch between the activities than actually doing any of them.

Every day you do so many things - checking e-mails, browsing RSS-feed, trying to wake up to your full potential, mapping your next text, googling some bizarre bamboozle and many more. All those things deflate your motivation for your primary goal - to do the thing the right way. You do a lot of things but the progress is minimal. Sounds like a bad thing, huh?

The problem with multitasking is misunderstanding of the concept itself. It is not doing more than once thing at once - it is doing one thing that accomplishes more than one goal.

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While there are many tips regarding the effective strategies of multitasking - it all boils down to four central elements.

You need to have clear and present to-do list

Before you start working - you need to break down what you need to do. You know the basics - your goals must be realistic and limited by a certain time frame. You can break them down into subgoals with a specific elements highlighted. To-do list is the easiest way to keep yourself intact according to your goal.

The other very important thing is to keep that list within your eyesight all the time. Otherwise you will loosen your focus.

Work on related tasks

The other important thing to plan is to find relative tasks within your to-do list. By doing that you will perform the actual multitasking which means that you will achieve more than one goal through one considerable bout of action. Keeping your focus on similar tasks will keep your working pace intact and will let you to focus more intensely on the task - all circuits and neurons of your brain will be activated in order to accomplish the goal. Imagine that spectacle!

Why bother doing it? The more you switch and jump from task to task the more time you will need to refocus your brain. By keeping it in a similar vein you will minimize the process of refocusing and thus will save precious time.

Develop up-down pace

As you know - sooner or later you will need a break in order to keep yourself fit for work. You can't work hard all the time. Even if you try - you'll see that the more you work without a break - the less effective it gets. You need some time to rest, to get a bit positively distracted, relaxed and calm. The usual pattern of human activity is 40-45 minutes of intense activity (depends on what you are doing) followed by 15-20 minutes of down time.

You can use down time in a variety of ways but keep in mind that you must avoid doing your primary work during down time. You will only postpone the moment when you will go on break. Sometimes it will prolong the actual time of the break.

Do passive research while down

The other very important element of effective multitasking is doing so-called unintentional, passive research while not focused on the main goal. The importance of such activity is debatable but it has some wicked charm.

Its difference from full-on all guns blazing gung-ho sources rush is that you do it casually as if it was browsing through the collection of LOLcats. Don't try to capture all the information - just read it as you read the news stories and friends posts. While it can't replace actual research it may give you some surprising discoveries that will positively impact on your accomplishment of goals. The trick is that your brain processes the information variously and it can interpret one particular bit in a variety of ways depending on your attitude towards it.