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Organizing Versus Multitasking

Whenever people tell me about their ability to be highly organized and multitask, I ask them to elaborate on how this is achievable. I used to think that organized individuals are more likely to succeed in multitasking settings. After all, being organized often implies your ability to manage multiple activities under fast-paced deadlines.

After being in situations that require both skillsets, I started to see how being organized and mastering the art of multitasking can clash.

Here’s why:

People who exhibit organizational qualities thrive in structured situations. They crave order and coordinate their daily tasks to ensure an overall smooth flow of events. They sometimes come off as highly detail oriented by ensuring that all “I’s” are dotted and all “T’s” are crossed – which, don’t get me wrong, is an admirable quality.

However, the problem with structured individuals is taking them outside of their comfort zone. When you throw curveballs at organized people, they are forced to rethink their preplanned agendas. This can be overwhelming for someone whose core foundation is built on structure and order.

Whereas an organized individual may crack under unexpected pressures, an ideal multitasker is capable of remaining calm in the face of a crisis. Why? The key differentiators between model multitaskers and keen organizers are their knack to prioritize and adapt.

Excellent multitaskers are able to dodge bullets and prioritize their schedules accordingly to ensure they meet outlined targets. Multitaskers must sacrifice the “nitty gritty” often sought in organization to focus on getting the job done. They operate off an adrenaline that allows them to rearrange their priorities where necessary – an idea that is not very welcoming to structure-focused people. As a result of effective prioritization, great multitaskers are always ready to adapt to fast-paced environments.

With that being said, it is still possible to bridge the gap between organizational and multitasking platforms by following these three golden rules:

  1. Let Go – The sooner you realize that our world orbits around constant change and incertitude the better. Let go of your inability to control every situation. Learn to adapt to your environment and not vice versa.
  2. Prioritize – The most important step: multitasking requires you to place certain tasks on the back burner for other matters that take precedence. Your approach in managing your time is the cornerstone of prioritizing.
  3. Take Charge – Be confident and take charge of the situation at hand. Being able to cope with external factors out of your control is a necessity in today’s business world. With a proactive attitude, anything is achievable!

So the next time you’re feeling the pressures of competing deadlines and maintaining your structured schedules, step away and repeat this mantra: let go, prioritize, and take charge. Remember, attaining perfection (or something close to that) requires sacrifice along the way.