There is a general opinion in the working world that the only way things can get done is through excessive multitasking. Not only will this not improve job performance, but also those tasks that are being juggled around just to get through them will each suffer in terms of their finished result and general output quality. We will take a look at various ways that tasks can be completed while still focusing on qualitative output.

Deal with the most undesirable task first.

Workers at all levels, but especially in senior positions, are often advised to prioritise their tasks accordingly. However, there will always be that one task that proves itself to be very undesirable and is making the whole task of prioritising difficult, since workers will often try to work around that specific task and leave it towards the very end. This is perhaps one of the most counterproductive approaches. It is always best to tackle the most undesirable task first. While it does not necessarily set up for the most pleasant day, it will probably become more pleasant since the rest of the day's activities will arrange themselves nicely. It could perhaps even prove to be the necessary fuel to get through the rest of the working day as well.

Create a list.

Creating a dreaded to-do list usually instils a sense of accountability. When you take it upon yourself to do a list, you make yourself accountable and this is likely to provide the necessary drive to get through the work ahead. However, it is not this particular aspect of a to-do list that works for many people. It is rather the visual reminder of what is to come that proves to be an effective tool. When you are able to cross off tasks as they are completed, you will see the workload decrease right before your eyes, rather than dreading the thought of even more work to come. It is this sense of accomplishment that often turns out to be the key motivator. It is also wise to list the time it takes to complete certain tasks, since ever-increasing times could be a sign that it is time for a break. It will also serve as a reminder in the future that certain tasks require a certain amount of time, so can be prioritised over those that can be done more quickly.

Try the Pareto principle.

The Pareto principle is a thought developed by Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto suggested that 80% of overall productivity and effectiveness is driven through only 20% of a worker's overall effort. The trick for workers is to conclude just what makes up that 20% of their effort and to focus on the activities that really matter in order to drive that overall effort. When workers attempt to channel their energy into doing the most important things during their day, they avoid the multitasking chore that often accompanies trying to take on too much at once. Instead, they can have an increased awareness of what it is they are accomplishing and be able to work more effectively towards their goals.

Group tasks.

When workers are assigned to a particular department, it is likely they are able to find some sort of correlation between their tasks - this holds true especially for marketing jobs. Grouping tasks according to similarity is a great way to help increase productivity, since similar tasks can be completed at the same time. Similarly, these groupings can be arranged according to priority in order to help workers get the absolute most out of their working day. 

Avoid distractions.

E-mail, social media and distracting websites are often the leading reason why workers find themselves falling behind. While little breaks here and there can often help drive overall productivity, getting too far involved in the goings-on within these websites will usually see productivity decrease significantly. It is, therefore, important to set limits on usage and sticking to those limits. When you tell yourself you are only going to read one e-mail, then that is all you are allowing yourself to do – ‘just another e-mail’ is already becoming too many and needs to be curbed as soon as those thoughts start popping up.