One Thing At A Time

Thursday, June 19, 2012

I have the pleasure of coaching some very busy high-level leaders and a lot of what they deal with is being so busy.  They have high demands and more to accomplish than there is time in a day.  And, some of them do not have a large team to whom they can delegate.  As you can imagine, this creates stress in their lives.   Often times they multi-task and feel as though they are trying to accomplish a lot yet truly aren’t accomplishing much of anything.

Multi-tasking is a way of life today.  We all have so much information to process and have it coming to us in all forms 24 hours a day; however, our brains cannot do more than one thing at one time so trying to multi-task and thinking you are getting a lot done is a myth.  It takes more time to refocus on a task as you move back and forth between multiple tasks than if you were to just remain focused on one thing at a time. Spending a dedicated amount of time on one task (say, 30-60 minutes) and then moving onto something new is a lot more productive than, for example, trying to create a PowerPoint presentation and listen to a teleconference call at the same time.  The distraction will make getting your presentation completed take twice as long.

For busy leaders, the idea of NOT multi-tasking is a hard one to grasp but it is one I work on with my clients.  Asking them to do one thing at a time (because that is really all our brains can do) and then seeing how much more productive they can be is the first step.  Although it takes practice and discipline, they usually discover that focusing on one thing at a time is a much more productive way to operate…. Just try it and see what happens.

How many things are you trying to do at the same time, right now…?


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