How To Get Better At Multitasking When Your To Dos Are Overwhelming, According To Experts
Thanks to looming student loan debt, divisive politics, and the general "WTF" nature of 2018, it can be increasingly easy to get swept up in the anxieties that seem to be lurking just about everywhere these days. Add to these sweeping problems an ever-growing to-do list, and you're probably completely overwhelmed. I can't pay your student loans for you, nor can I singlehandedly fix the political landscape, but some expert tips for how to get better at multitasking might be just the thing to take one more worry off your plate.
And, just so you know, stress really is something that everyone is dealing with in this day and age. For its annual Stress in America survey, the American Psychological Association asked over 3,000 American adults in 2017 about their anxiety levels, and in what may come as no surprise to those of us who fall into the millennial generation, our age group continues to have the highest reported stress levels: an average 5.7 on a 10-point scale.
Luckily, there are a few ways for millennials to tackle stress, even when some stressors are just downright difficult to control. One thing you do have control over, though, is how good you are at multitasking. So, if you're constantly on the move and need to fit a lot into your busy day, here's how to be the most effective multitasker possible, according to experts.
Start With Your Hardest Task
Andrew Tillery, marketing director of MAP Communications, suggests prioritizing your tasks for the day so that you can easily and effectively multitask. "Make a to-do list at the beginning of each day and 'eat the frog' in the morning," he tells Elite Daily. "Your 'frog,' whatever it may be, is likely the one you procrastinate on the most."
Once that one, looming to-do item has been checked off, your brain will be free to keep crossing off everything else you want to accomplish.
Choose Your To-Dos Wisely
According to endocrinologist and certified life coach Dr. Sasha Nair, one of the keys to effective multitasking is choosing the right combination of tasks. "If you are going to multitask," she tells Elite Daily in an email, "one of the activities should be automatic or require minimal thought and not require decision-making, and the other should require only light concentration."
For example, Nair suggests listening to your favorite podcast while unloading the dishwasher. Since neither activity is mentally strenuous, you should be able to do both pretty efficiently.
Play Video Games (Yes, Really)
If you love to spend your free time playing Fortnite or trying your hand at the newest gaming app, then you just might be training your brain to multitask more effectively, according to Dr. Jillene Grover Seiver, a senior lecturer at Bellevue College who researches memory and decision-making.
"If someone wants to improve their ability to absorb more information at once, playing video games might help," she tells Elite Daily over email — but not just any old game will do in this situation. "Games that require attending to movement, reacting to stimuli, and remaining aware of status updates (for example, health, or number of remaining objects) can generalize to similar circumstances in the real world," Dr. Seiver explains.
Figure Out What Works For You
At the end of the day, you have to go through a little bit of trial and error to figure out what types of multitasking are most effective for your life, says Regina Leeds, a professional organizer and author of the bestselling book One Year to an Organized Life. For example, she tells Elite Daily over email, one version of effective multitasking might take place if you have a doctor's appointment and know from experience she always runs late, so you bring something you have to read for work.
But, if you just can't read a book and eat dinner at the same time, don't sweat it. With a little experimentation, you'll be sure to find the balance that's right for you.