Stop Multitasking! Start Rotational Tasking.
Make The Most Efficient Use Of Your Time
Master Your Professional Time Management
It seems that everybody is always multitasking (or, if you prefer, multi-tasking). This has become a broadly accepted business practice as well as a popular means of social relationship management. The situation, in reality, is quite lamentable – the ultimate result of most multi-tasking is a confused mess of partially (or shoddily) finished responsibilities, excessive (and highly unhealthy) stress and overall inefficiency. It is apparent that most Human Beings are only capable of doing a very limited amount of multitasking. At an organizational or enterprise level, the cumulative effect of multi-tasking is a breakdown in communications, management, problem-solving and goal attainment.
It's really quite simple. Multitasking generally requires a division or scattering of intellectual focus, which leads to predictably poor or unfinished results. Going further, the multi-tasking culture is creating a working environment that is more effort-focused and less results-oriented. Readers and followers of The Braintenance Blog, The Taking Command Blog and The Douglas E Castle Blog are familiar with this tendency and its negative trend in terms of both health and performance. Every project manager should become intimately familiar with using rotational tasking in place of multitasking. The greatest benefit of rotational tasking is that it permits steady focus on each of the tasks rather than a diffused (and ofttimes confused) focus – more like a glossing over – of a set of tasks.
Since time is your principal asset and a limited resource, rotational tasking is simply a better way than multitasking in terms of intelligent and efficient time management. And your professional and personal time management are critical to your quality of work and life.
Realistically, when you are confronted or faced with a number of tasks, instead of diving into the pool of them and reverting to you multitasking 'default mode', try to observe the following protocol if you'd like to actually accomplish a better quantity and quality of work [it helps if you can envision a sort of matrix table in your mind while you proceed through these steps]:
Step 1: Prioritize the tasks in terms of deadline. What needs to be completed first?
Step 2: Prioritize the tasks in terms of their relative importance. Which is most critical in terms of the quality of your performance and result?
Step 3: Begin rotational tasking to finish the whole set of tasks. “Rotational Tasking?” As I write this article I can hear you asking the rhetorical question,”What does he mean by Rotational Tasking?”
Simply organize your tasks in two lists, the first one being the deadline list, and the second being the “first things” first importance list. Go to the first list first, and commence work at full steam on the first project until your focus begins to wander. Then, go to the first item on the second list (assuming the two items are not the same task, in which case you would go to the second item on the second list), and commence work at full steam until your focus (and creative juices) begin to wander. Then go back to the first list (i.e., the deadline list), choose the second item and proceed with your work at full steam until you arrive at a natural fatigue point. Just continue this pattern, 'Lazy Susan style' until you've completed the full set of tasks. Congratulations – you are now rotationally tasking!
You will notice that you have actually made genuine progress toward the full-quality completion (in an incremental fashion) of several tasks, instead of slogging through a swamp of confusion that just refuses to disappear without a massive sacrifice in the quality of your performance. You might also notice that you are far less fatigued than you would normally be had you attacked the set of tasks through your ill-acquired habit of multitasking.
Rotational tasking will allow you to function far more efficiently and effectively than through either a linear approach (the “old school” approach of simply completing one task – no matter how fatigued you become and how much your focus eventually wanders – and then going onto the next) or a multitasking approach.
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