Multitasking. It’s something most of us do at least from time to time. For some, it’s a response to feeling busy and stressed; for others, it’s a daily work habit. Unfortunately though, for most of us – whatever our reasoning – it’s not helpful. Multitasking can be a major drain on our productivity. It can also interfere with the quality of the experience we provide for our clients. If multitasking is a habit in your professional life, here are some strategies to get rid of it:
Pinpoint Your Distractions
What are the things that make you multitask? Is it checking your Facebook business page while on the phone with a client? Is it trying to go through your inbox while also finishing up some paperwork? Maybe it’s a habit of working on several to-dos at once, alternating between them throughout your day. Whatever the case, awareness is key here. Look at your general workflow, and notice when you’re most likely to multitask. Then, you can assess and see if that multitasking is getting in the way of having a more productive workday or providing a better client experience. Once you know this, it’s easier to catch yourself when this habit creeps in.
Define Your Priorities
When you define what you need to accomplish in a day, it becomes clear which things need your full attention. Highlight just a few priorities for yourself. Your overall to-do list might be longer, but what are the most important things to do that day? This way, if you start to feel stressed and the temptation to multitask arises, you’ll know how to redirect your focus to what matters.
Create Specific Windows of Time
Often, we multitask because we’re going through our day without much structure. If you want to create a weekly piece of content for your website, for example, rather than letting this be a project you work on here and there throughout the week while also answering emails and checking off other to-dos, carve out a window of time in your schedule just for this activity. Maybe you’ll need multiple throughout the week to accomplish what you want. The idea of creating these specific windows of time though, helps to sharpen our focus and keep distractions out. Batch checking your email can be another helpful strategy. Maybe you create a system of checking your message every hour, or even every half hour. This way, you’re not trying to respond to an endless string of emails while also trying to finish up paperwork for a client.
Keep Your Desk Area Clean
When we’re surrounded by reminders of different to-dos and distractions, it’s understandable that we multitask. Keeping your desk clean can help streamline your workflow. It allows you to better focus on the task at hand without the temptation to tend to the other little to-dos you have for the day.
Know Your Exceptions
Finally, it’s important to know if there are times that multitasking does work for you. Maybe listening to a podcast while you work out, for example, is a type of multitasking that works. Usually, the only multitasking that doesn’t slow us down is when the activities require different things. The treadmill requires your physical body, while the podcast requires your mental focus. When you clarify where multitasking works for you and where it doesn’t, it’s easier to stay on track.
Do you find yourself multitasking throughout your workday? Does it impact your productivity or the experience that you create for your clients? I find that when I eliminate multitasking, I’m able to work more efficiently and be more present with my clients. If you’d like to discuss this and other strategies that can help loan officers lay the foundation for a stronger business, I’d be happy to set up a time to talk.
VP – Retail Market Leader