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Is "Zooming" Better Than Multitasking?

Is "Zooming" Better Than Multitasking?

Photo by Eflon, Flickr.com

We’ve all heard about multi-tasking and how every successful assistant needs to be a good multi-tasker to succeed in their position. Here at ProAssisting (and in our positions as working assistants) we believe in multi-tasking so much that we teach it in our assistant training program along with downloadable templates to facilitate this kind of work.

However, Alyssa Gregory recently wrote a blog post over at SitePoint about “Zooming” which got me thinking about multi-tasking and if there is a “better way”.

I’m assuming that most of you know what multi-tasking is and if you don’t, just take a look at that picture in the upper right hand corner and you’ll get the idea pretty quick. As for “zooming”, a term coined by Terri Lonier which she describes in an article over at Inc.com, it’s about being singularly focused on one task at a time while being able to see the big picture in between each task.

Both Alyssa and Terri look at zooming from a small business owner’s perspective but after reading both of their articles, this kind of thinking can have a positive influence while working as an assistant. What I suggest however is that we don’t throw multi-tasking out the window but rather combine if with zooming to get maximum efficiency.


Here’s what I mean: As an assistant, we all have to do tasks that we could do with our eyes shut and one hand tied behind our back on a daily basis which is just part of the job and for these tasks, multi-tasking works really well. But when we’re dealing with coordinating a big meeting or trip, if we are able to look at our project from a “30,000 foot level” as Terri explains—the big picture—, we give ourselves the opportunity to find solutions to specific issues or problems that we wouldn’t normally see.

Additionally, if we are able to stay completely focused on these larger projects when we’re working on them, as “zooming” suggests, we are less likely to make mistakes while getting the project done in a shorter period of time.

Approaching work as an assistant in this manner is a mind-set shift more than anything else but the more I think about it, the more I want to make myself a “zooming-multi-tasker”. Who’s with me?

More in Organization:
Organize Your Piles of Paperwork
Handling a Disorganized Boss
Calendar in Chief: Schedule like the President
How I Got a Grip on My Workweek
…and more in our Organization section!


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