PA and Secretary Community -

General Discussion => Topical Climates => Topic started by: chikky on March 15, 2012, 12:58:56 pm

Title: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: chikky on March 15, 2012, 12:58:56 pm
Who does this?  I have been reading a lot of job wanted ads that list this as a requirement.  Really, who can do three things at once (unless you have children, and sometimes I feel like I am baby sitting on the job).  I guess I need to be able to answer the phones and handle customers, be typing and formatting a power point presentation, taking care of a unexpected walk in customer, AND run down to city hall to file permits that were due 2-weeks ago, that you finally got complete after I harassed you about.  All of this done at the same time?  COME ON, get with it.  It has been scientifically proven the human brain cannot do this!  Off my soap box.  Feel better!

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: officepa on March 15, 2012, 01:27:19 pm
My husband always says he can't multi-task but I assure him he can - he can be irritating and annoying at the same time  :D

During my working day I find I multi-task with having several projects on the go and keep having to dip in and out of each one to keep them moving on bit by bit.  When you are working on one job, my mind is always thinking about what I have to do next - guess that is multi-tasking.

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: gee4 on March 15, 2012, 02:00:32 pm

Sometimes we actually put ourselves out to do everything, simply because so much emphasis is put on us as PAs to "multi-task". 

Realistically of course, it is almost impossible to pay attention to detail when carrying out so many tasks at once, as very often mistakes do happen.

What employers want to know is, if you found yourself in those pressure situations, can you deliver?

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: Atlanta Z3 on March 15, 2012, 05:13:11 pm
Office PA good on I will have to tell my hubbie this one - at the right moment of course.  He has been on vacation since March 6 and won't go back to work until the 18th and only had to take 5 vacations days - shift work! 

I truly dislike the word multitask it's is over used.  I for one can't multitask.  I can only work on one item at a time - not say that I don't have multiple projects in various stages of completion.  I can also handle most interruptions gracefully, shift gears and all that mish mush.  The dumbing down continues.

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: officepa on March 18, 2012, 04:02:42 pm
I think you really do need to concentrate on the job in hand so it gets your full attention.  This way less errors are likely to occur.  Even, as I said I do and no doubt others do also, dip in and out of various projects, you do need to focus on what you are actually working on but I do find my mind wandering onto what my next priority job is.

I actually asked a couple of people in my office what they thought multi tasking meant and they both said having various jobs on the go and moving from one to the other throughout the day.  But thinking about it, that is not really multitasking but just prioritising.

From a different point of view, when you are driving, that could be multitasking, you are using your limbs to use the wheel and work the pedals but also using your eyes to see and your brain to make decisions - all at the same time. 

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: gee4 on March 18, 2012, 05:07:24 pm
Wikipedia says...

Human multitasking is the best performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time. The term is derived from computer multitasking. An example of multitasking is taking phone calls while typing an email. Some believe that multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.

I very often answer the phone while typing an email.

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: countrigal on March 19, 2012, 01:21:19 pm
Guess I'm really adept at multi-tasking then.... since we are required to document all (work related) calls, I'm often typing up the Report of Contact while I'm actually in the process of making that contact.  To me, that makes things simpler and more efficient, but I definitely would not type up anything on one topic while handling the phone calls on another.  Then I know I would increase my likelihood of messing the two up.

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: Brighton Rock on March 19, 2012, 05:55:58 pm
I have six children, a husband, cats, dogs, horses and smaller creatures to manage at home.  Even if some of them are away at school they still require maintenance, and there are many occasions during the year when everyone is at home.  So, can I multi-task?  You bet!  Do I do it at work?  Yes. 

I have lots of things on the go at the same time, but I think it is important to give one's attention properly to the task in hand, whilst being able to break off what one is doing at that moment and do something else.  That requires a thorough knowledge of one's area of company business.  Today, for example, I was writing papers for our board meeting later this month and I received a phone call about some complex item of business.  Being able to switch from one to the other and back again is key, but I wouldn't have continued with my paper-writing at the same time. 

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: raindance on March 19, 2012, 10:17:48 pm
That's quite a plateful, Bright.   :)

I think that most women multi-task.  It may sound sexist, but we have to be able to juggle home, family, work and so on and somehow make it fit together. 

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: countrigal on March 22, 2012, 03:52:58 pm
Ok... where's the "like" button???  :)  Would love to "Like" Raindances post, as I really agree!  Hmmmm.... is that something we should look at adding?  We could "Like" someone's post, to show appreciation for them saying something, without adding a post that says "I agree" or not posting at all, because someone already said what we would have said....  hmmmm..... thoughts are starting.....

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: Atlanta Z3 on March 22, 2012, 05:54:22 pm
I just finished a short course on becoming irreplaceable and one of the items was to stop multitasking or switch tasking as they called it.  Also poor time management because neither item gets the attention it deserves.

A few take away notes
Time Management Fundamentals
  Minimize switches (multitasking)
  The truth of time

Eliminating external distractions
  Beeps, buzzers, flashes: create a schedule to respond to voice mail and email
  Quick questions: schedule one on one meetings
  Random noise: block with white noise or music
  Instant or text message: if more than one text, make a call instead
  Schedule less

Eliminating internal distractions
  Refresh addiction: set a schedule to check messages
  Idea generating: create one place to write down ideas for later thought
  Schedule processing time
     Screen addiction: if item is not computer involved turn away
  Impatience: pause, breathe deeply and relax rather than switching tasks example when on hold

I already have someone these in process such as turning off the pop up email alert for new email, but I like the idea of ignoring the computer screen whenever possible and I just noticed my boss doing that when on the phone.

Title: Re: Small Rant: Multi Tasking
Post by: peaches2160 on March 25, 2012, 06:48:06 pm
I agree we need a like button.  I find myself multi tasking all of the time.  However, I focus on the task at hand when required. 

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