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Baby bottle and blocks on African American woman's desk

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Being busy has, unfortunately, become a way of life.

Sometimes, it seems we are constantly rushing from one thing to the next, always trying to fit as much as we can into our day without losing our minds. We have jobs, family, homes and friends to juggle, and 24 hours in the day can go by pretty fast if we are not careful and diligent in our daily planning.

With most jobs and their corresponding commutes, how do we find time to make grocery lists, shop, plan meals, make appointments, run errands, send emails, and handle any other tasks that need to be addressed during work hours?

Here are four ways to multitask with life and work, during work hours, and not get fired. They may be seemingly obvious, but let’s be real, MANY of us need to hear them again!

1) Use Your Break Time Wisely.

If your job allows 10 to 15 minutes of break time every two hours, TAKE THEM ! Do not feel obligated to remain at your desk just to prove you are busy working hard. Employee policies were put in place for moments like these to not only take some mental space from work, but to also have personal time to handle personal matters.

And in that same vein:

2) Use Your Lunch Time Even More Wisely!

For a period of time, I ate my lunch at my desk. Sometimes I was completing a task, and others I was just surfing the internet aimlessly. The bad thing about remaining at your desk during your allotted time for lunch is that people may think you are still working, and interrupt this precious time.

So, be smart. Leave your desk during lunch time, even if it is to retreat to the breakroom. While on your 30 or 60 minute hiatus, make a mad dash to the pharmacy, sit down and make your grocery list and meal plans, or even go for a walk as exercise. Knocking out lunch and another task at the same time can make you feel accomplished by the end of the day!

3) Leave at Quitting Time.

Hey, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but more likely than not, your job really does not care about you, your issues, or your responsibilities outside of work. If you happen to be at a place that does, then I am certain they agree with what I am about to say. If your quitting time is 5:00 p.m., start setting the standard that you will be vacating the premises AT 5:00 P.M. There is nothing worse than rushing out of the office, racing to get to your kid before they are the last one at after-school care, only to hightail it home and realize you have to cook, and have no groceries because you have been staying at work late for the past month. I have a girlfriend who goes into work at 6:00 am sharp, and leaves without feeling any type of way at 4:00 pm. Yes, she is in a high management position, but she made it clear years ago that her time is her time, and her job will not interfere with it.

4) Establish Co-op Style Assistance. When I was younger, my mother and my best friend’s mother would take turns picking us up from after school care. This gave them more free time to handle other matters, or stay late at meetings when it was absolutely necessary. I also have a girlfriend who grocery shops on her lunch break. She will send a message to me and our other girlfriends to ask us if we need anything while she’s out. The circle of helping others and being helped as well, opens up more time for you during the day.

Remember, above all else, that work will be waiting for you, whether you take a few moments for yourself. It’s important to maintain your sanity and keep your stress levels down to make yourself the most effective employee you can be.

What are your favorite ways to handle real-life problems during the work day? Share them with us.


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Multitasking Life And Work: How To Handle Personal Business During Your Work Day  was originally published on