Multitasking is something a lot of us struggle with. Historically, we’ve been set the task to rub our bellies whilst patting our heads to test just how well our brains cope with doing two things at once, and a lot of us fail.

But it isn’t quite the right measure of your multitasking capability. After all, your brain thinks of your arms as a unit – it doesn’t think of eating your cereal whilst reading through your physics textbook as an indistinguishable unit. In fact, it might quite like those enriching activities.

Which is why it doesn’t have to be impossible to take on two or more tasks at once. If you’re a student just trying to get through your degree, it’s practically a fact of life: you have little time to spare, but you want to use it productively. So here’s just a couple of tips on how you can do that.

Set Up Your Computer Right

Most of us use a computer to get our work done, and when you’re a student, you’re going to be taking your laptop or tablet computer everywhere with you. You want to be sure you’ve always got access to your materials, whether you’re headed to a cafe or a library, and it really lightens the book load.

So make sure you’re using the display on your laptop screen productively. If you’ve got an Apple Mac, learning how to do split screen on Mac is going to be a great upgrade for your future studying moments. You’ll have everything you need to see right there on the screen, and you won’t get lost searching through the thousand safari tabs you have open. If you’ve got some notes to write out from your last lesson, but you’ve got an online lecture to attend at the same time, this is the way to manage it.

You might even want to download a to do list app, to make sure you can list out (ahead of time…) what you need to study that day. If you’re going to multitask, you need to make sure you’re multitasking the responsibilities that need to be done ASAP.

Time Yourself in Little Installments

20 minutes on one task, then 20 minutes on another. If you’ve got another task that needs completing by the end of the day, you’ve got a spare 20 minutes in that hour to get on with it. One hour, and you’ve been able to multitask through three different checks on your to do list – simply because you’ve slowed down a little and allocated blocks to your priorities.

We can easily get in a fluster when we have more than one thing to do at once, so it’s important you separate your tasks out to retain your focus. Otherwise you won’t get anything done!

Overall, multitasking is something a lot of people don’t recommend, but it’s something we often have to do. So let’s make sure you’re doing it right, especially when you’ve got books to pour over.