What is multitasking? Can you do multiple tasks at once and stay sane? Moms and homemakers are adept at multitasking. Here are time-honored secrets from those “git-er-done” ladies.
Step One: Organize weekly and daily tasks. Keep a calendar of events for each person in the family. Family members should post items on as they come up. Keep a personal organizer. Use your cell phone calendar with alarm system to input dates and events.
Step Two: Coordinate set-in-motion tasks. Pre-heating the oven, setting a pan of water to boil, frying or grilling the meat, steaming the vegetables, putting a casserole in to bake, starting a washer or dryer load, starting a dishwasher, starting a computer download or update, printing a group of materials, putting a child in the bathtub (keep a close eye on them), starting an older child on homework, heating hot rollers or a curling iron. These kinds of tasks can be set in motion while you do other tasks. Just remember to set a timer and get back to them.
Step Three: Do non-engaged and engaged tasks simultaneously. These are tasks which you can do on automatic automatic pilot.
-While driving, listen to a child’s daily report, spelling words or reading (don’t do anything which takes you hands off the wheel or eyes off from the road). Turn on speaker phone or use a hands-free for calls.
-While ironing, folding clothes, cooking or cleaning, touch base with family members or make phone calls (especially if you use your speaker phone or headset). You can handle business calls this way too.
Step Four: Juggle. While working at your computer, you can maintain several tasks also. Have kids bring their homework in for help. We have a computer room with a table and chairs and a library of reference materials (this was our home-school room). There are maps, educational posters, charts and graphs on the wall also. School supplies are available.
With a swivel chair, I keep track of several kids doing homework. Being on the computer, I have information at a finger touch. I can type up any quick thing that they may need. I have several on-going tasks at the table: accounting, sorting mail, lesson plans, correcting.
Our family computer room opens off from the kitchen. I can monitor computer usage and homework while I cook and clean. The phone is handy for appointments, business calls, paying bills, online shopping. By setting the phone on speaker, I can multitask and minimize the frustration of being put on hold.
Step Five:Multitask errands. Organize errands so you aren’t wasting travel time. Consider closing times and visit places that close earliest first. Group errands daily: all doctor appointments on Wednesday, shopping on Thursday, banking on Friday.
When you have drop off-pick up errands (fill a prescription, take a child to an activity), do errands within the store or nearby area while you wait.
Step Six: Plan for waits. Bring something to do. Update your planner, make phone calls, write out checks for bills, correct papers, plan lessons. Stock your handbag with supplies you might need. Bring your laptop. anything you need.:
Multitasking gets more done in less time. However, you need to know when not to multitask. There are times when multitasking isn’t safe. It may be counter-productive, causing work to be done wrong. It is not healthy to multitask constantly; your mind and body need some down time. For more on organization, visit my linked blogs.