In today’s world, there are often many different things that people want to do at the same time. This can leave people feeling as if there isn’t enough time in the day to get tasks done, especially when they are all equally important and hard to prioritize. Because of this, it is becoming increasingly important for people to learn how to multitask.
Some people are born with a natural inclination to be able to multitask, while other people may not be as good at it off the bat. Thankfully, multitasking is a skill that you can teach yourself over time, allowing you to get multiple things done at once and ultimately leaving you with more free time at the end of the day.
How Does One Teach Themselves to Multitask?
While it might be confusing at first, teaching your brain how to multitask is similar to learning any new hobby. You will first want to understand the thought process and the science behind it so you know what to aim for, and after that, you will want to put those efforts into practice.
It may seem difficult when you begin and it may even be overwhelming to try and handle it all at once, but after you have started easing yourself into multitasking, you will learn where your comforts are and what you can do best. Everyone has aspects of life that are easier for them than others, and multitasking is no exception to this rule. There are also ways to improve on the multitasking skills you already have.
The first thing you will want to do is look at areas of your life where you are already multitasking, even if you aren’t aware of it. For example, you might do some chores around the house while you are on hold on the phone, or you might answer emails while you are eating breakfast. Both of these are examples of multitasking in fairly easy ways.
Understanding the Science Behind Multitasking
In some ways, multitasking has always been a part of human life, back before the days of technology and even far before modern society was a concept in most people’s minds. A good instance of this is during the days when men would go out to gather or hunt and women would watch over children. While watching over children, women had to not only make sure that they were safe, but also handle feeding, protecting herself, and watching for danger.
This is an incredibly early example of multitasking that can still be applied to modern-day parenting, as parents often have to watch over their children while performing general home-care tasks such as cooking food, washing clothes, or handling work from home.
The science behind multitasking comes from both how humans have evolved to be able to balance their needs and the needs of others as well as how the brain is naturally set up. People have their conscious and their subconscious, and by purposefully choosing tasks that cater to both the subconscious and conscious parts of the brain, one can easily begin multitasking.
The Conscious Brain
As you might imagine, the conscious brain is the part of you that handles deliberate actions and thoughts. This is the part of your brain that takes over tasks that you need to be aware of and thinking about, and cannot necessarily do in an absentminded state. Examples of this include reading, learning, mathematical problems, and similar tasks.
Because the conscious brain needs to work harder to process information in order to get these deliberate tasks done, it tends to expend itself more easily. When you end up feeling worn down, tired, and when you feel as if information goes in one ear and out the other, these are all signs that your conscious brain is tired and needs to rest.
As a natural accommodation to this fact, the brain will try to automate the areas that it can. This is where the crux of multitasking comes into play, as you will be able to perform these tasks much more easily through the use of your subconscious brain.
The Subconscious Brain
Compared to the conscious brain, the subconscious part is the part of you that handles all of the tasks that you don’t really have to think about. Just about any task in your life that you can consider a routine move is one that your subconscious brain handles, such as tying your shoelaces and cooking relatively simple dishes.
These tasks started out as something your conscious brain would take over, but through repetition, your brain has learned how to automate itself, moving these tasks to be in the domain of your subconscious brain. Think about the time you first learned how to drive when you felt overwhelmed by all the areas you had to pay attention to in the car, but now you hardly give it a conscious thought. It feels routine, right?
This is where you can expand your capabilities of multitasking. By repeating tasks that you don’t have to give conscious thought to, you can allow yourself to do them while you are also taking care of a task that your conscious brain needs to focus on.
Putting Everything Into Use
To put it simply, there is a straightforward process to multitasking. You are going to want to group similar tasks together, keep the list of those tasks visible, and reserve downtime for your brain to review the best ways to do things so that you can become even more efficient the next day.
Begin with a list of tasks that you need to get done in the day as well as your overall goals with why you want to learn how to multitask. From there, you will want to remove any tasks that would not benefit from multitasking, and be honest with yourself and your capabilities as to what you can handle at once. You can always learn how to do more at once after you grasp the concept of it.
After you have grouped similar tasks together, you will want to plan your day with multitasking in mind. Always allow yourself extra time in the day for interruptions and unexpected events, as well as working ahead of your schedule where you see fit.
If you feel overwhelmed by the tasks you are doing, you can always readjust and reorganize tasks until you feel comfortable and confident in your ability and what you are doing. These are the core concepts behind teaching yourself how to get the hang of multitasking.