Increase Productivity – You Stop Multi-Tasking
GEEZ! It is amazing to hear how often smart business people exclaim about how great they are at multi-tasking. And, in the same breathe state how much they are getting done. Are You Kidding Me?
If you are an acclaimed multi-tasking individual I only have one question for you…
Are You Regularly Achieving Your Goals? Are You Producing High Value Outcomes?
Okay, I cheated – there were two questions. However, more importantly, how did you answer these two questions?
Most people I coach (therefore I really know how well they are performing) truly believe multi-tasking is the only way they can operate within their organization. Therefore, they spend an typical day going back and forth working on as many projects, tasks and activities as they can. Major mistake!
There are several reasons why people believe in multi-tasking and here are a few of the reasons stated most often…
- They Have To
This is a myth of corporate culture. The truth of the matter is they need to be focused upon higher priority projects which are adding more value to the organization. Believing “You Have To” is nothing more than an EXCUSE for delaying the necessary work on “Real High Value” Projects which could be viewed as difficult (or politically unsafe – which is more common in large hierarchical organizations). The truth is you need to focus your mind and your concentration upon a single project to get it executed. And, the lack of execution is directly related to the disease of “multi-taskitis.”
- It Fits Their Behavioral Style
Now this one has some truth to it. About half the population has fast paced and aggressive style, which translates into a fast pace and quite simply boredom when working a singular task, activity or project. These people have a tendency to get distracted by everything going on around them – which I can the “shiny object” syndrome. The only way to rally out of this malady is to know exactly what are the Major Priorities they are responsible to deliver. These projects need to have clear deadlines and progress tracking milestones along the way.
- They Get More Done
Again, this is myth when you compare exactly what they have done relative to the Major Priorities or Outcomes they are expected to deliver. I find these people are creating busy work, or fun things to do, or no challenging work or things they do not have to actually think about while doing it. Again, the key measuring stick at this point is how many value added projects have they completed? Another way to think about it is how often are they producing high priority results which have them progressing to an end goal or outcome?
- They Actually Are Doing Several Jobs
In our new “normal” world this statement is more true than false. Again, the key here is to reflect upon what results and outcomes am I on the payroll to produce? The only time I see this as a real problem is when the goals and objectives set for an individual are in conflict which causes major stress. This is even amplified when a person has two or more superiors with competing priorities or expectations for a single individual – again a major producer of high stress levels. When confronted with doing several jobs or positions at work – You Must Prioritize The Results and Outcomes to Deliver. Then you focus and concentrate on the highest priorities using blocks of uninterrupted time. Neuroscience is showing us that clarity and focus to produce at a high level takes 60 to 90 minute clunks of time. This is time where you are isolated as much as possible in order to complete your objectives.
- Everyone Else is Doing It
This is another major EXCUSE for a lack of clarity and focus in your work and workday. Everyone is not doing it! High Performers are focused and clunk their time to complete their projects on-time with value adding results. The “everyone else is doing it” is a lazy person’s reasoning for lacking clarity and focus in their job performance. A common issue with these “believers” is they need to look busy all day – doing busy work (fun, easy, non-thinking and non-challenging work) and acting like they are doing good. The only way a person’s degree of work can be rated as good or great is directly related to the number of projects produced that are progressing this person (dept, division or team) to their targeted outcome. Busy work is wasted time – usually the type of work that could be eliminated or converted to technology doing the activity without wasting the person’s time.
I realize several of you will want to argue about my comments above, yet, I am standing by my words. In fact, I will go so far as to tell you I realized there was a lack of progress and growth for myself and my side of the business several months back. As I looked into using the Law of Cause and Effect reasoning model, I found “I was the Problem!” My personal clarity and focus had slowed down and I had begun to do more fun work than challenging work.
One of the key factors for progress and individual growth is to be challenged. The sense of being challenged brings on higher energy levels, focused concentration to deal with the challenge and higher levels of creativity and innovation. Change is a necessary ingredient for progress to occur for both you and an organization. Positive changes come from challenges and the higher priorities set up to deal with these challenges.
In summary, stop using multi-tasking as a badge of honor. It is the major reason most organizations have an execution problem relative to achieving strategic goals and objectives. Begin to work using Priority Projects in your daily thinking and planning and block out chunks of time to accomplish your daily and weekly milestones on the pathway to completion.
I know you can do this. How? Because I learned how to do it! Focus and Clarity is much more important than doing a bunch of things so-so or having little value.
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Tags: author Voss W Graham, busy work issues, challenging work, clarity and focus, concentration levels at work, high performance individuals, improving productivity, multi-tasking, project based performance