To Multitask Or Not To Multitask
Multitasking. It’s a buzz word in many businesses, but especially small businesses. In a small business, team members must often fill more than one role. So there tends to be a lot of jumping from one task to another, without much warning.
And while it can seem efficient. It’s often not as efficient as we would like to think it is. Over time it becomes not just a standard, but an expectation that everyone can, and should, multitask.
This week we’re challenging you to take a step back and ask why. Why is multitasking so important that it’s consider a desired skill set? Because we often find that multitasking isn’t the goal that we need to be chasing.
Think about it. When you multitask, your focus is divided. Which means at least one, if not all, the tasks that you’re working on are going to be short-changed. If you’re multitasking, it’s going to be difficult to be present and proactive. It leads to more mistakes. More frustrations. And a lot of lost opportunity.
It’s time to end the myth that multitasking is the best goal to achieve. Instead, the focus should be on controlling your time so you don’t have to multitask. Think about that for a moment. Imagine a world where you don’t have to divide your attention. Where you don’t have to “jump” all the time but instead have time to work through your core tasks without trying to do multiple things at once.
Consider these steps to limit the amount of multitasking within your own schedule:
- Close your door. It’s simple, but effective. Even though you may want to be seen as approachable to your clients and employees, having an open-door policy is the root cause for a lot of unnecessary interruptions. We understand why an open door may seem like a great policy, but typically it’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, we recommend closing the door and opening your calendar. It’s a small, but effective change. Your employees and clients can always schedule time with you, but you’re no longer putting them in control of how you spend your time. In addition, because it’s on your calendar you’ll have time to be present during those meetings instead of experiencing them as an interruption.
- Say no, or not right now, more often. There’s always going to be more to do. Sometimes you have to just say no, or, at least, not right now. Over committing will create quality issues in your work. You may feel like a superhuman, but at some point, it will catch up with you. We suggest writing every task you say yes to with the amount of time that the task will take to complete in parentheses behind the task. For instance: complete Jones quote (30 minutes), research hiring sources (1 hour), etc. This will help you see how much time you’re committing and not just what the result is that you are committing to. Over time this can help you learn to say no, or not right now, more often.
- Become a master at time design. Our business coaches are available to help you, but the reality is that you must change your mindset when it comes to time. It’s your time to protect. It’s your time to invest. The more you let other people control it, the more out of control you will feel. A master at time design realizes that mastering time is a lifetime commitment. You don’t reach a level of mastery and stop, instead you’re always looking for ways to spend your time more wisely. When you’re ready to become a master of time design, we’re ready to help you get there.
Not multitasking may seem like a fantasy, but it’s often the key to working smarter and faster. And what if it frees you up to actually get more done?