How to balance multitasking with productivity

The daily life of a real estate agent is extremely busy. Most of the time, there is a client who needs help, a home that must be looked at and paperwork that won't take care of itself. This only scratches the surface, and novice professionals may sometimes feel overwhelmed getting a foothold in the business.

The daily life of a real estate agent is extremely busy. Most of the time, there is a client who needs help, a home that must be looked at and paperwork that won't take care of itself. This only scratches the surface, and novice professionals may sometimes feel overwhelmed getting a foothold in the business.

That is why multitasking can feel like a smart option. Since there is so much to do, it can be easier to tackle more than one item at once. However, multitasking has its share of pros and cons, and juggling too much can be more detrimental than focusing on one thing at a time. Thankfully, there are ways to become an effective multitasker without sacrificing productivity, but it takes some know-how and a few tips and tricks.

Find tasks that work well together
Not every job is right for the multitasking world. In fact, some things are better suited for another time, when it is easier to give them complete focus and attention. But, other items on a to-do list can be paired up, making it faster to get things done on schedule.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, combining related tasks is one of the best ways to become an efficient multitasker. If this is the only option, professionals should pick things that are really similar, so it is easier for the brain to process what needs to be done. This can make switching back and forth between them a simpler proposition.

In addition, it can help to always have that to-do list handy, the news source noted. Without this, it will be much harder to figure out what needs to be completed first, and that will get in the way of effective multitasking. Instead, use this list to track items, prioritize them, and check them off once complete. It will also clearly show which tasks should be tackled in groups, and which ones should be focused on alone.

"In a multitask environment, workflow is being driven by the environment, rather than being internally driven," Art Markman, cognitive psychologist and author, told Entrepreneur magazine. "In a very real sense, the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

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Pick the right items to multitask
Not every job is right for a multitask environment. In some cases, giving too little attention to something can cause it to turn out poorly, but in others, it will mean more productivity and more time to focus on other, important goals.

According to Oprah.com, figuring out which ones are which comes down to what the end result should be. For example, is it important to learn something, like studying for a big exam? Or, does the task just need to be completed, like filing paperwork? 

"Results are always worse when you multitask, but in some areas they're especially compromised," Russell Poldrack, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at UCLA, told Oprah.com. "Our research shows that if you try to master something while splitting your attention, brain activity switches regions - from memory building to short-term habit making."



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