Multitasking is a topic which has been much in the news recently. In layperson's terms it involves trying to do more than one thing at the same time. The phrase originally comes from the world of computers, where engineeers could devise systems flexible enough to perform several tasks at once. But we are not computers and research suggests that when we try to do two or more things at once, this can create problems, such as:

- Reduced efficiency in performing the tasks
- Poorer judgement
- Shorter attention span
- Forgetfulness

In severe cases, where the volume or nature of the tasks is particularly demanding, this can contribute to stress, anxiety or even depression.

So what can you do if you feel that you have too many things to do and not enough time?

My suggestions would include the following:

* Decide on priorities between different tasks and allocate time accordingly, rather than spending a lot of time on tasks which you could leave without much of a problem

* In the tasks that you are doing, focus on the essentials that need to be done, rather than wasting time on peripheral aspects

* Take short breaks when doing tasks for a long time. This usually helps you to be more productive with the time you do spend on the tasks

* Try to seek or negotiate support from others who might be able to help with some of the tasks in a constructive way if you feel that the burden of the tasks you are doing is too great - don't just allow it to build up to a point where you can't cope.

* Finally, keep some time for relaxation each week, doing something for yourself, whether that involves pampering yourself, socialising, partaking in something creative or relaxing in another way - this is your special time and can help to prevent you getting stressed out.

David Bonham-Carter
Life Coach and Stress Consultant

Author's Bio: 

David Bonham-Carter, MA, DipSW, CPE is an international Life Coach and Stress Consultant with over 15 years practical experience in the field of personal change management. More information about the services he provides is available at

The above article is a summary of advice given by David in an interview for BBC radio on multitasking.

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