Maintenance Foundations Maintenance Management

Digital Skills for Maintenance-Part 5: What is Multitasking?

come to know Your multitasking Resources. Understand how to use your Competitive advantage but avoid being Burnt Out

For a long time multitasking was perceived as a competitive advantage. However many times it get confused with multiskilled. The main motivation for looking after multitasking or multiskilled resources is the work optimization. Optimization is always an overarching target in any production environment. Sometimes, optimization is an elegant cover for cost reduction. They both invoke the resource utilization which is always a hot topic in most organizations.. No matter you are creating a soft product like a piece of software , an article a plan or, you are producing a physical product at an industrial site or a workshop. Using the most of the resource you have is always on the verge of overloading your resources.

What are the needed resources for multitasking?

First of all we need to know what do we mean by resources? And, what are our perceptions about resources?

Traditionally resources refer to physical materials found in nature and we need them. As a good example think about wood. It is a physical product from the nature. We need it for heating, construction and furniture. Actually nowadays there are replacement material in each of these usages. However, wood is still a needed resource.

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The value of the resource depends on two factors; The degree of neediness and the availability of the resource. Moreover, the lengthy difficult transformational process needed to convert the resource into a usable form affects its availability and cost. There is a difference between the cost of an object and its value to us. By its value we mean the added value that it will give us. It is not always the monetary value that really presents the value of the resource. That’s why also the perceived value of the resource varies between users and environments.

Wikipedia has a comprehensive definition for resources:

Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which are technologically accessible, economically feasible and culturally sustainable and help us to satisfy our needs and wants.

Resource – Wikipedia

Other resources definitions extend the meaning to anything natural or manmade that has utility and adds value to your life.

Moreover, you can extend or generalize this definition for resources to be  something that can be used for making profits or benefits. Whether we use it directly as individuals or the organizations use it.

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There is one more important resource that you can use or someone else can make use of it; it is your skills. That’s your personal soft skills or your skills in using some tools. Even tools can be soft ones like negotiation or communication or hard ones as carpentry or metalworks.

So after all this various options for resources definitions and perceptions, What are your resources that you can use to be multitasking?

What are your resources for multitasking?

You have two main resources that you can rely on to execute your task. The physical tools you have and your skills. It is extremely important to know your skills. Sometimes we can’t phrase our skills if someone ask you what are your skills? We had discussed how to answer this question in this article: How many skills are there in your tool box?

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One of the skills that we overlook is our mastery of using digital tools. Mastering the use of apps that help us do more work in less time is a vital skill in a digital world. Excelling one app can help us do a lot of tasks using he same app simultaneously. If you hadn’t read it yet, then that’s the time to do so: Digital Skills for Maintenance-Part 4: Automate or Delegate

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When you decide to automate some of you tasks as we explained in this article, then you need to go deeper with examples in using the app. That’s what we offer in our trainings for Google Apps Script and Sheets and in our API training. You can find the links here. However you can delegate us to automate some tasks for you through this link to our services web store.

Then, how to use those resources to perform multiple tasks simultaneously?

The word simultaneous is a little bit deceiving here. Because actually doing 2 physical or soft tasks at the same time is not possible. However, when you handle or you are requested to do more than one task and you are capable of delivering them at very nearby times, then you are considered a multitasking person. However you can consider multitasking from a totally different approach. If you can do two or more jobs from different disciplines then you are multiskilled. That’s the gateway to multitasking. The dilemma is can you do multiple tasks of the same skill in parallel. or you can do multiple tasks that need different skills in series. The bigger dilemma is whether those tasks belongs to the same workorder or across multiple workorders.

Let’s agree that you are your biggest resource and maybe you are one of the key resources for your workplace. More importantly, you are the most important resource for your family and close circle.

What so far can run simultaneous jobs at the same time is the software apps. They can create what they call multiple threading or pipes. Where one task starts and during its execution it triggers the execution of another asynchronous task. The second task executes in its own timing and resources while the main task is running. At the end, the total job is complete when both tasks are done.

There is another category of web apps that can do multiple tasks or can be used for different tasks even thought the base is the same. A great example of this is the Google Forms that we are going to speak about next.

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In Conclusion,

Multitasking can be seen from different points of view either you are doing parallel versions of the same task during the same period of time. Or, you are doing multiple tasks of different nature that require different skill sets. Either ways, You can’t be doing 2 tasks at the very same instance because you engage your personal resources in one task then you switch to the next ones. Even robots, you see a lot of robots on the fully automated production lines. Any of them can do most of the tasks the others are doing. However we need this number to execute tasks in parallel so we can minimize the overall time needed. Otherwise, one robot can do all of the 10 tasks in series but in nearly 10 times the time needed by 10 robots.

Of course this is possible if you have either the space and capital to install 10 robots or the time to wait for the 10 jobs in series. Software tools that purely run on servers can do multitasking at the very same moment through sharing the resources via multiple threads but that’s another story.

Anyhow it is good to be multitasking for sometime but try to avoid to be burnt out.

If you feel you need help with any of these ideas we discussed, drop us a line for initial investigation in the form by Clicking here or request Management Consultancy or Coaching Services From our Store

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By Rezika

I intend to create a better-managed value adding working environment.
Projects and Maintenance Manager with broad experience in industrial plants. Managed Projects and applied different maintenance strategies and improvements tasks in different industrial plants: steel, cement, and food industries.

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