Are you the kind of person who’s always thinking of new business ideas, coming up with new projects, wanting to learn and do e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g? But you only have that many hours in a day, right? So you may want to try and get several things done at the same time! Why not spend the time on Pinterest while you’re listening to that webinar? And what’s stopping you from checking your phone while you research for a logo designer for your new website? Productivity and multitasking are THE solution for multipassionate freelancers like you! Or they aren’t?
Spoiler alert: Being a multitasker and a multipassionate are not the same thing. In fact, multitasking can result in a waste of time more often than not. However, multipassionate entrepreneurs tend to multitask in the belief that they’re going to be more productive this way – but this is mostly wrong. Let me show you why:
Does Multitasking Increase Productivity?
Have you ever found yourself in this scenario? You’re having dinner with a friend or your spouse, and he’s scrolling at his phone while you’re talking. You ask for his attention, and he says he’s listening. Now, is he really? My husband hates it when I ask him to repeat what I just said… ’cause he can’t! It’s almost impossible to actively listen to someone and, at the same time, writing or reading something else, don’t you think?
And the same thing happens when you’re trying to perform two tasks simultaneously at work. Even when you try to concentrate on both of them equally, your focus ends up shifting to one of the tasks you’re performing. And time goes by. Before you even realize it, the day is gone and you have only been trying to focus.
Multitasking isn’t productive, my friend. And you know, sometimes, multitasking is just a way to procrastinate: It makes you feel so busy, that you can’t get bad remorses for not having done what you actually wanted to get done. Check out this post on how to stop procrastinating and learn to focus.
Confessions of a Multitasker
Being a recovering multitasker myself, I’ve stopped trying to do everything at the same time. I firmly believed I could listen to a podcast while writing for my blog and answering many of my group chats at the same time. But it turns out that I couldn’t. Like any other normal human being, the only thing I got at the end of the day – apart from a huge headache – were many started projects, but none of them were really ready.
So believe me when I say that you have to focus on one thing at a time if you want to do it right! However, although I stopped multitasking the way I was, I’ve been experimenting since then. And I got good news for you: There are tasks you can perform simultaneously without letting it affect your productivity – and without going crazy!
Key here is to combine tasks which require your attention, that is, where you need to listen, write or talk, with tasks you can perform automatically, like training or cleaning, for instance. Check out these harmless multitasking combinations:
- Listening to a business audiobook while running
- Watching a webinar while folding the laundry
- Enjoying your favorite podcast while commuting
Basic Mindfulness Tips for Freelancers
If you don’t like or don’t really believe in meditation, no worries! You don’t have to meditate to be more mindful. I’ve always thought about trying and get my morning started with meditation, but I guess the scent of coffee is more attractive to me 😀
The thing with mindfulness is that it’s way easier than we think: Mindfulness is about being present at whatever it is that you’re doing. And while it may not make that much sense to be present while washing the dishes – at least for me! -, it is one of the most productive ways I know to freelance.
It’s as easy as this: If you’re attending a webinar, you’re attending a webinar. You’re not scrolling at your friends’ Facebook wedding pics. You’re not chatting on your phone, and you’re not thinking about anything else but the webinar you’re attending. Got it? Good!
Recap – Multitasking and Productivity
As we’ve seen, multitasking isn’t really helping you become more productive – but the other way around. So focus on one single activity at a time if you want to finish it faster and thoroughly.
Now, if you do need to get several tasks done at the same time for you to get some sleep, try and combine mind-demanding tasks with easier house chores or commuting trips.
And if you’re still wondering how to combine all your passions without multitasking, keep reading this blog post on multipassionate freelancers and time management.
PS. Are you born to freelance?