In the world of competing demands with so little time, no wonder more people are feeling burned out. According to Families and Work Institute, twenty six percent of workers felt they are “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work.” Multitasking was once believed to increase productivity but now research reveals that it can be dangerous and even reduce performance – and slow down your progress. How is that possible?
You might be thinking you are getting so much more done but what you are really doing is switching gears. In order to switch gears, your brain is continually starting and stopping and restarting again. Recent neuroscience research reveals that the brain doesn’t really multitask. The brain is switching tasks quickly. Momentum is broken.
With so many demands for our attention or “bright shiny objects” (distractions), more people are starting projects and do not follow them through to completion. The clutter and overwhelm begins. There is so much to do. Several things can be occurring: 1) new ideas or projects that come up are more desirable 2) with several things to get done with competing deadlines and a person spreads themselves too thin and gives up because they are completely overwhelmed. A person may think if they attack several things at once that they can get them done and move on to the next thing. Rushing through a project can cause problems.
Focus on One Thing
Focus on doing one thing well. In the book, The One Thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, the authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan explains the importance of concentrating on “the one thing” to keep momentum and achieve so much more. When you give your focused attention to one thing you become more efficient and get more done. You may have heard the acronym for the word “FOCUS” – focus on one course until completed. How engaged are you when you are on a conference call and checking your emails? Have you ever sent an email and forgot the attachment because you want to clear your inbox? One thing done with excellence goes much farther than many things delivered with mediocrity.
Find Your Pace
Finding your pace starts with recognizing the difference between moving too quickly and trying to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time versus completing a task or a project of high quality and striving for excellence. If you do things too quickly and without a lot of thought, you increase the risk of errors and miss out on important details which may be costly to your bottom line.
Think about a runner training for a marathon. If the pace is too fast, you may miss the finish line completely as you may run out of steam before you even get to your destination. If your pace is too slow, you may get to your destination but finish line might be packed up and everyone has gone home. When you are finding your pace realize that multitasking can slow you down. How many things can you do while you are running? You cannot run a race and tie your shoe at the same time. If you try you may fall flat on your face.
Slow Down to Speed Up
By slowing down, you allow yourself to be more aware of your environment and situation. Slowing down can allow you to be more present and be in the moment. You can pay attention to trends in your industry and what the competition is doing. You open the doors to innovation and creativity. Allow yourself time to brainstorm new ideas and do your research so you can deliver top quality work and make better decisions. Delegate tasks to others who excel in areas of weakness. Productivity will increase. Performance will also increase because you can become more solution focused and respond to situations that come up versus react to them.
Everyone needs some downtime to recharge and regroup. You can only run at full speed for so long before something happens to slow you down. Stress takes a toll on your mind, body, and spirit. It impacts relationships and your ability to make decisions.
What is multitasking costing you? Why not slow down so you can accelerate your results?
DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. She is a contributing writer for Diversity Magazine and Fabulous at 50 magazine. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. www.debrakasowski.com