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10 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Get Better at Multitasking

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Recently, the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) contacted top business leaders to ask the question, “Everyone’s favorite productivity tip is to simply focus. But when you have no choice, what is your best tip for multitasking smarter?”

As an entrepreneur, you have to wear many hats — often simultaneously. Learn how to do it better with these great tips on how to do multitask without tanking your efficiency (or your sanity). (Click here to tweet this list.)

Wear a watch with a timer

“I recommend deciding which tasks you’re going to complete each day and then wearing a watch that beeps every hour to help you keep track of passing time. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the details of a task and spend too much time on it, so staying conscious of how much time you’re spending on each task is the key to working faster and being more productive.”

-Ziver Birg, ZIVELO

Write it down, and take three at a time

“Only have three priorities at once. I am a sophomore in college, so I always write out what I need to do to complete my week. However, I star one thing in each category (work, school, other) that I need to complete first. When I cross that off, I star something else and if I finish a category, I am able to use that star in another category. Write it down!”

-Bryan Silverman, Star Toilet Paper

Only multitask when you don’t need to devote your full attention

“All — and I do mean all — of the research currently available shows that multitasking is a productivity killer. Don’t do it. The only acceptable time to purposefully multitask is when you’re performing activities that don’t require your full attention. For example, you can respond to emails while listening to music or take a non-critical call while walking or driving. “

-Emerson Spartz, Spartz

Don’t multitask

“I’m often amazed at how much more I can get done when I don’t multitask. If I’m going to go on social media, then I will just go and enjoy myself and not pretend that I’m doing other work. If I’m writing, I shut down all other distractions. The same goes for checking email, phone calls — you name it. Keep your focus lasered, and see how much faster you close the loop.”

-Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media Inc.

Use offline email

“One of the main ways that folks multitask is by balancing email responses with other projects, but the biggest distractions are new incoming emails. Work in an ‘offline’ state so you can multitask across known projects and avoid any new surprises that will just create more work.”

-Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches (Follow on Twitter @ModifyWatches)

Know your limits

“Don’t try to handle too much at once. This is when mistakes are made. Instead, prioritize your tasks and make sure you are dedicating enough attention to the most important.”

-Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

Get an extra set of hands

“Everyone sings the praises of multitasking. It’s a simple math equation: More tasks can be completed with four hands than with two! To multitask smarter, hire someone to help. This isn’t just about delegating one-off tasks. With my executive assistant on my team, I am consistently able to be much more productive and effective.”

-David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

Keep a list of short tasks handy

“Multitasking is only effective if you’re just looking for ways to fill time when you are waiting for something else to finish. Keep a list of short tasks that you can work on while you’re waiting, like updating a contact in your address book or sending out a reminder email. Try to avoid anything that you can get sucked into (like social media) during these short bits of time.”

-Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting (Follow on Twitter @ThursdayB)

Remember: two is better than one

“While it’s ideal to focus on one task at a time, it’s simply not realistic for the busy life of an entrepreneur. At my office, my dual-monitor setup allows me to fly through multiple tasks with countless tabs open. My productivity improved exponentially using dual monitors, and now I couldn’t imagine working any other way. “

-Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings (Follow on Twitter @cabinetkings)

Plan to avoid it

“Take the time to build a schedule that avoids the need (as much as possible) to multitask. Generally with multitasking, you end up being less efficient. I diligently keep a running to-do list and a running follow-up list, and then I prioritize my time based on those lists. It is also important to give yourself a small break between tasks to keep your focus and energy level high all day long.”

-Anderson Schoenrock, ScanDigital

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • jrandom421

    Multitasking is a myth. Humans do not have a multi-core hyperthreaded brain with pre emptive out of order execution set. The best anyone can hope for is rapid switching of attention, which leads to missing things, messing things up, and just general poor execution of everything you’ve tried to do at once.