Lately I’ve noticed that there are days when many new tasks are coming at me while I’m trying to concentrate on the task at hand. My desk gets piled up with all this new material and people are placing pressure for answers or completion of something. Everyone has their own deadlines. This is the time when I almost always make mistakes. I am often heard to say with a smile “multitasking rots the brain.”
I recall an Administrative Assistant at the YWCA in Yellowknife who faced this dilemma very creatively. She placed a white board near her desk and asked people to add their task to the list, providing a sense of its urgency (a simple A, B or C). Below the board was a basket for back up material relating to the task. When she completed the task at hand, she would go to the board for the next item in order of importance and urgency.
The members of her organization complied very happily because they really didn’t want to add to her stress and were very impressed by her proactive problem solving. She looked at the problem, focused on what her objective was, generated options she could think of, and asked for her client’s input. The end result was a lot less stress for all.