There are often multiple priorities that vie for my attention. Some examples: activities I scheduled, demands from others, or events that are completely out of my control (visualize blizzard conditions and streets haven’t been plowed so you can’t get to work). Then there are multiple priorities that seem to demand my attention simultaneously. How can I manage these activities? How much can I multi-task? Do I need to multi-task and if so, is that really an effective way to get things done.
I manage multiple priorities best when I write them down. With the list clearly in front of me, I can prioritize. Then, if someone asks me to take on another task, I add it to the list and give that person and idea of when I’ll be able to assist them. By looking at the clear list, I determine whether or not I multi-task. Lately, I’ve discovered that when I try to accomplish two tasks simultaneously, I don’t give my full attention to either and the results aren’t stellar.
(Granted, there is an exception: I can listen to a recorded lecture and do housework!)
What’s the solution? Concentrate on what’s in my control, which is the activity or task in front of me at the moment. That way, I feel focused, and I give everyone the attention they deserve. Let the other stuff wait its turn.
Oh – and one more point: Keep the list in front of me!