So they say our generation can’t get by without being engaged in several tasks at once, but I for one see no problem with this. At least not if we’re still efficient! As college students, we’re all incredibly busy. Classes, friends, family, jobs, and organizations are all vying for our time and attention; it can get overwhelming quickly. Never fear! HerCampus is here, with six tips to get you productively multi-tasking in no time.
#1: Stay organized.
Organization is the name of the game. Keep a to-do list, check out Google Calendar, or invest in a good planner; I’m quite partial to a written to-do list because the act of physically crossing something off feels amazing. The key is to keep your list or calendar somewhere handy so you can add to it at any time.
Note: Don’t let it be TOO handy. There are very few everyday things more stressful than constantly being shown the work you still need to do. If you have a smartphone, try keeping a list or a calendar of tasks, deadlines, events, and reminders.
This is closely related to Tip #1. After you have your to-do list, for each task ask yourself “How important is this?” Keep in mind how long it will take you to complete, if there’s a pressing deadline, and if someone else is relying on you.
Here’s a fairly realistic example. It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re staring at three tasks: a dinner date that night with your closest friends, a 10-page paper due Tuesday before 5 PM, and three episodes of your favorite TV show to catch up on.
You’ve already set the date with your friends, so that has to be done – they’re counting on you and you know you’ll have fun! The TV episodes, while important, can probably be watched at any time. You may think to yourself, “I should just get them out of the way!” but why not start working on your paper and use them as a reward? (see Tip #5)
#3: Choose wisely.
Not everything is multi-task-able! It’s rude to answer your emails while you’re out to dinner with you’re friends. But at the same time, some tasks fit perfectly together. Need to watch a movie for your MCM class? Watch it while you fold the three loads of laundry you’ve been meaning to tackle.
#4: Be flexible.
If you fall off schedule or get too distracted, don’t beat yourself up. Trust me, I know that awful feeling when things don’t go according to plan, but beating yourself up will just waste more time. Adjust, move on, and get it done!
#5: Combine work & play.
I love music. So my favorite thing to do when I’m facing a lot of work is to put on a playlist and get down to business. And for those dreaded times when I have to pull an all-nighter, I give myself permission to have mini dance parties.
Whatever you’re into, there’s probably a way to combine it with other things you need to do. If you love to exercise (hey, we all need it!), try doing small exercises all the time – calf-raises in the shower, lunges while you think of the thesis for your next paper, and ab clenches when you’re in a meeting. If you like to draw, doodle while you return your missed phone calls.
#6: Reward yourself!
When it’s all said and done, be sure to recognize the work you DID complete! Sure, there’s always more to be done, but you have to reward yourself for being such a fly, bossy, and accomplished woman. Go to a new restaurant, take a long nap, watch a new movie, get your nails done. Whatever makes you feel happy, beautiful, and re-energized to take on the rest of the world!