Give up multi-tasking

multitaskSeriously. Give it up.

It doesn’t work! It’s only an illusion that it enables you to get more done.

Time and time again it has been tested, and proven to actually have everything take longer than if each task were done on its own.

I get a lot done in a day, and the only multi-tasking I am capable of is listening to music while I am taking a walk. Because it doesn’t matter if I miss part of the song!

Your work matters. What you are working on matters. The people you are talking to matter.

Pay attention. One task at a time really will allow you to get far more done than splitting your attention among many different tasks.

 

© Terry Monaghan, 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

 

 

Has your exercise equipment ever attacked you?

Lessons From A Bruised Foot

Have you ever been attacked by a piece of exercise equipment? Or is that just me?

I was setting up one of the only pieces of equipment I own (something like a dancer’s barre), when the legs dropped quicker than I anticipated and a cross brace came down HARD on the top of my foot!

It was a heavy cross brace, and it really hurt! My foot immediately began swelling – so I hobbled in to the kitchen to get ice.

While sitting there with the ice pack on my foot I began wondering what could this teach me? I have had a few days to be off my feet and think, and I have come up with the following lessons:

Pay attention to what you are doing

I know, this is a real DUH! But, I let my attention wander for a moment and got thumped immediately. How often do we con ourselves – thinking we can successfully multi-task, not noticing what is about to drop on our foot?

Sometimes low tech is the best tech

Did I really need to set up that equipment? What’s wrong with swimming or walking – where they only equipment required is my own body? How often are we wasting precious time fiddling with some piece of equipment that isn’t working properly (but isn’t really necessary to getting the job done)?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

After Googling “how to tell if you broke your foot” and reading some great info by WebMD, I decided to take myself to the emergency room for an x-ray. I asked a neighbor if she would give me a lift. She not only did that, she brought a book and read while I was being taken care of, so that I would also be able to get back home easily.

How much time do you think you waste trying to do something on your own, rather than asking for help?

Make the most of every circumstance

I had already scheduled a fair bit of focused time this week, for thinking, writing, designing. So, having to be off my feet for a few days wasn’t a huge inconvenience. Rather than moan about what I am not getting done, I have propped up my foot, and accomplished more reading, studying, planning and writing than I had originally intended.

Instead of looking at what I was not going to be able to do, I focused on what I could get done. The result? See above! Plus, a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I am ahead of schedule on some writing projects and workshop projects.

Now, what lessons might you be missing?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Multitasking – fact or fiction?

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of someone’s multitasking? You know what I mean. You are on the phone with someone, and you hear click clack click clack (because they have you on speaker phone). Obviously, they are trying to have a conversation with you and type something on their computer at the same time. So, they miss what you are saying, and they probably type in a line of your conversation to their report or email.

Or, you are sitting in their office, across the desk from them, and their eyes keep going to their computer screen. And you just know you have lost their attention.

Drives me nuts! Anyone who thinks they are saving time and being efficient needs to really examine that belief. Who’s time are you saving? Your own? Really? Have you looked at the time you spend fixing your errors? What about the fact that it can really take you three to five times longer to get something done when you are multitasking? Where did the time savings go?

One of the best productivity tips I ever heard was “if you cannot give it your full focus, don’t do it.” I know that when I am working with a client, I demand their full attention for the time we are working together. So, all smart phones get turned off, all distractions get set aside, and I will often schedule the meeting to be outside of their office – as another way to minimize the distractions and the temptation to multitask.

For the same reason, I have had to discipline myself to shut my laptop when I am on a phone call. Too many distractions possible with it open, and before I know it I have lost the thread of the conversation!

Here’s an experiment. Just try doing one thing at a time. Try it for an hour. Do one thing. Finish it. Then do the next thing. I bet you will be shocked at how much you get done. I bet you will also be shocked at how clear your mind is when you are only focusing on one thing at a time.

Multitasking is a myth

From time to time I hear colleagues congratulating themselves on their ability to multi-task. And then, in almost the next sentence, they bemoan the constant interruptions that make up their day and say they can’t get anything done!

I recently read a post that cited some rather shocking information:

Unfortunately, the human mind cannot, in fact, multi-task without drastically reducing the quality of our processing. Brain activation for listening is cut in half if the person is trying to process visual input at the same time. A recent study at The British Institute of Psychiatry showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment 10 points. That is the equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours—more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana.

So, why do we multi-task? Sometimes it is because we are truly bored with what we are (supposed to be) doing in the moment. Other times we are allowing the interruptions – the instant messages, the phone calls and text messages.

But let’s not kid ourselves that it is allowing us to be more productive. All the research indicates just the opposite. It can take 10-15 minutes to return to a task when interrupted by an incoming email or phone call. That leads to days where you are just plain busy all day, and at the end of the day can’t remember what you did. There is certainly no sense of accomplishment.

Try on short periods of focused activity – and give each task the full attention it deserves. I predict you will be amazed at the difference in what you accomplish.