Multi-tasking – women are supposed to be fabulous at it, and I’m sure there are some gentlemen who are equally gifted in doing 25 different things at once.  I, however, am not a fan. It’s not that I can’t do it – when the need arises, I can juggle like a witch. But I don’t find it very helpful. 

As a Virtual Assistant, my days are filled with a diverse range of jobs, from diary management to acting (yes, really!).  I love this diversity; it keeps every working day exciting and a fresh challenge. But I have learned to ensure that I only focus on one specific task at any one time and set clear boundaries between one task and the next one. I do this because I am blessed to work with a variety of different clients, each of whom pays for my time and attention.  Because of this, it is only fair that I try to focus, as much as possible, on each unique task, rather than try to do several at once and divide my brain power between them all.

This idea works in principle a lot more than it does in real life. There are always unexpected calls that ‘sneak in’ to my dedicated working time. There used to be emails too, pinging away in the background whilst I worked, begging me to double check them just in case they were urgent and needed to be dealt with immediately.  For a few months now I've tried to ensure that I limit my email checking time to specific pre-determined windows.  Admittedly, this means that I am unable to jump on urgent emails with the same ferocity that I used to, but people are getting used to my new, strict email responding hours, and are learning to work with them.  If something is urgent, clients know to phone or text me and I can re-prioritise my working day if appropriate or necessary to deal with something last minute.

By trying to actively reduce distractions and ensure that I focus on one job at a time, my productivity levels have improved – it always seems to take longer to do 3 things at the same time than it does to do three things separately!

I do, however, understand that not everyone has the same working habits or styles.  Can you work efficiently and productively whilst multi-tasking? I’d love to hear from you!

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