The Modern Myth of Multitasking

Paperless-zenTrue or False: There’s no such thing as multitasking, you are only making people wait.

We call our generation the masters of multitasking, never stopping, disconnecting or focusing on just one thing. But do we need to? Today we are break down the pitfalls of multitasking and how to manage your time better.

There have been plenty of pieces why multitasking doesn’t work. Forbes explains how our brain can’t possibly differentiate and tackle two dissimilar tasks at the same time, to the point that doing so could be dangerous; think how well Fernando Alonso would drive if he was checking his email. The New Yorker argues that the world’s great geniuses, from Kerouac to Jobs, reached their potential by being essentially recluses, shutting out the world and focusing for days on perfecting and following through on a single task.

So why do we think we can magically do more than the Wozniaks and Kafkas of the world? Google and Twitter and Facebook, oh my, have built up our hubris, fooling ourselves into believing we’re multitasking warriors, when we’re really ineffectual wimps who think ourselves more effective because we don’t even stop so-called multitasking in the bathroom.

We just need to STOP. And then retrain ourselves from the start not to multitask but to manage time.

Time Management, not Multitasking

The first step to proper time management is to examine what you’re doing. As a sales rep or as a freelancer or SMB working to grow your business, it’s said your day, no matter how scattered or “multitasked” is split into the same six parts:

  • 10% Active Selling
  • 10% Prospecting
  • 14% Problem Solving
  • 18% Traveling
  • 17% Personal
  • 31% Administrative

The first 34 percent is unavoidable and should be–these are the ways you are connecting with your clients and prospects and are really getting the most things done, so you can be more productive in the future. And commuting and dealing with personal stuff, well, these are gonna happen too. It’s that last almost third of your time spent on administrative tasks that are recently avoidable hindrances to proper time management. With productivity apps like PandaDoc, Podio and Harvest, you’re able to automate your administrative task, and, finally, with all the pieces integrating, time management falls into logical place.

Chunk don’t Task

Chunking is based on the principle that multitasking doesn’t work because we aren’t doing multiple things at the same time, but rather are ping-ponging back and forth among different tasks. Also known as the Miller Principle of “The Magical Number Seven, plus or minus two,” based on the number of objects we can hold in our short-term, working memory at the same time. (That’s why we can–or could–remember 7-digit phone numbers so easily.) It’s based on the simple fact that if you care about something you are more likely to remember it, so chunk things into significant groups with:

  • Mnemonic devices — we all remember Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally from second grade math, now apply these seemingly silly tricks to provide meaning to your to-do list
  • Create a visual calendar, where each task or project is related to an image
  • Meetings should never cover more than nine points
  • No slide should contain more than nine bullets
  • No team member should be in charge of more than nine projects at the same time

As you use chunking to improve your short-term memory, it helps you build better time management skills with a keen focus on availability, reliability and usability. It lets you refocus your priorities and, in turn, accomplish more.

Use Harvest project manager to make your time count

You offer a valuable service to multiple clients. You have an ongoing mix of hourly and project-based contracts. It may seem nearly impossible not to multitask. Instead we recommend you take advantage of PandaDoc’s awesome integration partner Harvest to go ahead and track, manage and invoice your time on the go. The idea is that you don’t have to focus on these housekeeping tasks, allowing you to focus on making a good job out of the work you love.

How does Harvest help you get your time management back on track?

  • Manage and view multiple projects by multiple co-workers
  • Free your sales team to work on-site and remotely
  • Track time on your desktop, smartphone, iPad, from anywhere
  • Virtual stopwatch for project management
  • Automatically reminds your colleagues to submit timesheets, invoices
  • Segregate time: billable vs. non-billable, employee vs. freelancer
  • And all of it flows naturally into invoices so you can get paid

And then, while you’re doing all of this, make sure to get everything processed faster, online, and paper-free with PandaDoc’s electronic signature and tracking app.

Did you think this helped your refocus and renew your time management? Why not tell your friends! If you do, we’d be happy to give you the gift of time management with the Ultimate Freelancer Toolkit.
  • 50 PandaDoc documents FREE
  • 6 Months of Podio FREE
  • 3 Months of OnePageCRM FREE
  • 6 Months of RealtimeBoard 50% OFF
  • 1 Month of Harvest 75% OFF


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