For many years I worked for multiple supervisors and learned how to efficiently juggle multiple projects. I do not believe in the ever-popular term "multi-tasking" because if you're juggling several balls you cannot focus on any of them. However I do work well with what I think of as sequential multi-tasking. I prioritize in this way.
I look carefully at my "to do" list and decide what categories the items fall into. There are things i can do quickly and get them off the list. There are ongoing projects that I need to spend some time on. There are "emergencies" - rush jobs that someone else needs done right away. There are routine parts of the job that need to be done daily.
It's also important to understand in what time of day you work most efficiently. I'm a morning person and enjoy my creative and more difficult tasks before about 2:00. I usually first tackle a few of the "quick-draw" items that needed attention - quick phone calls or emails, checking on the status of something I'm waiting for, that sort of thing. I set a time limit for doing these so the important tasks are not ignored - perhaps half an hour. This ensures that these short items don't sit unattended for too long. I'd work on items that need alert concentration after that, while I'm still fresh. I'd save cleaning off my desk and filing and such for late afternoon when I'm least productive. After 8:00, my brain is done thinking for the day. But if you work best in the late evening or right after lunch, save your creative or project work for those times, and handle such "brainless" tasks as filing or cleaning when you're least alert.
If you deal with rushes and emergencies often and have control over any part of that process, it's a good idea to think of preventive measures and ways to organize to stave off crises. If the rushes are given to you by supervisors and you find yourself trying to juggle several "top priority hurry hurry" items, you may need to go to your supervisor to ask for guidance on how to prioritize. Presented in the context of providing excellent service rather than complaint, a supervisor will usually help the process along.
And if you run your own business and can't decide how to prioritize, I know a great office assistant who could help you: Holly@LightseedsOffice.com!!
Welcome! These stories, tips and tricks are intended to help you save time, and be more organized and effective in your work. New items will be added frequently so check back often.