Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Multi-Tasking Ideas

Do you have certain projects or jobs that you do over and over? I have been brainstorming for blog post ideas about multi-tasking and how to create a check list for handling several things at once. We, especially women, are always handling several projects at the same time. Wouldn't it be nice to concentrate on one thing at a time once in a while? :o)

Some ideas:

1. Identify jobs that are easily done at the same time and plan to do those together. I often do laundry while doing other things in the vicinity of the laundry room. These include sewing, cooking or cleaning. But, I just leap into this daily without planning the best outcome. On your to do list you could have double activity items such as: 1. While the pork chops are frying, I will gather up a load of clothes and start the washing machine; 2. Today when I take a shower, I will clean the tub and shower before leaving the area; 3. While dinner is cooking I will pay this week's bills;4. while talking to my Mom on the phone, I will straighten the junk drawer.

These are things we do anyway, but planning them ahead of time will make the best use of the time.

2. Make a multi-use check list. On my job there are certain projects that I do regularly and I created a check list that has helped me immensely. This saves me not only time, but insures that I don't forget anything. I put everything that could possibly need to be done on the check list with two lines beside each one for checking off. One is labeled "Need" and the other one is labeled "Done".

When I first start a file for a project, I go through and check off all the items that will "need" to be done. Then as they are done I check them off as "done". Can you tell that I've forgotten key items in the past? :o) With this check list, I will never again forget to do a vital item for a project. Also, at a glance I can see what I need to get done.

I keep a few of these "blank" check lists in my desk drawer for easy access when I start a project.

So why wouldn't this work in the homemaking areas of our lives? One idea would to have a weekly checklist with everything that could possibly need to be done on there. At the beginning of the week I could check off all the items that "need" to be done and then check them off after they are "done". Especially important would be to put items on there that are time sensitive, such as paying bills or medical appointments. I could leave some blanks at the bottom to write in any unusual items that only come up rarely. If it doesn't need to be done that week, just don't check it off as needing to be done.

It would be beneficial to keep a few of these completed sheets to see where our time is being spent. But, after the initial trial period, the master list could be placed inside a plastic sleeve and the check marks could be made with a dry erase type marker.

3. Identify your most important tasks to be able to spend more time on them. Are we spending lots of time on unimportant or useless tasks? Eliminate and concentrate! If training your children is your most important task, then these kinds of items should go on your weekly check list. If an item you are regularly doing is of no value to you, then eliminate it, or reduce it, if that's not possible.

Example: While dusting the house is important, I won't spend time on it every single day. Its not going to be important ten years from now whether or not there was a little dust on the furniture! It can't be eliminated from my check list, but it can be reduced to a lower priority for a time if there are more important items to be done.

4. Be sure to schedule items on the master check list that feed your soul. We all have different things we need to do to preserve our sanity. This changes with the seasons of our life and the seasons of the year.

Right now I "need" to work in the flowers in my yard. It feeds my soul to walk around the yard early in the morning, watering a plant here and there, pulling a weed here and there and just simply to "be". Someone once said, "There's nowhere that you can be closer to God than in the garden". And don't forget the old hymn, "In the Garden". "He walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am His own."

What feeds your soul at this season of your life? Plan for it!


Mom2fur said...

I try to vary how I do things so it never gets boring. Sometimes I use a checklist (my favorite is from the site "My Ta-Da Lists," which is free, btw) and sometimes I just do things randomly. I find the best way for me is to pick one area and concentrate on that. Most of those jobs only take a few minutes. But did you ever notice how much cleaner a room looks with the bed made, or the coffee table cleared off?
I'll fold towels while waiting for the rinse cycle to start, or empty the dishwasher while my coffee heats up.
Today, while hot dogs were grilling outside the back door, I cut out a child's top on my dining room table.
Believe me, no one likes 'down time' more than I do--I'm a Nintendo-DS addict and I admit it. But I can never sit around and do 'nothing,' LOL!

Alexandra said...

When I worked outside the home it was much more difficult to organize my time! Your time is not your own. I had a working list of stuff to do on my frig door, and I'd knock those things out on the weekends, usually Saturday mornings.

I still keep that To-do list, but it's easier to get the things done. I've also got my oldest doing more chores now! He is vacuuming the downstairs, cleaning up after the dog, and cleaning his bathroom. This is a huge help. He also helps here and there with his little sister.

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