Productivity Knowledge Base: Multitasking. Cure or curse?
|Many time management
"experts" tell you how to multi-task. Others tell you to avoid
it as much as possible. Who is right? A thoughtful examination will
reveal the answer, and it will show you how to boost efficiency and
Let's take a sample situation. Dave and Debbie are sales people. They have vastly different styles.
Here's a conversation Dave is having with a customer, via his cell-phone, while driving between appointments.
Dave: "Yeah, Carol. This is Dave at ACME
The above scenario is typical. Dave is just responding, just coping with inflow. And he's very dangerous while on the road. Now, let's look at Debbie.
Debbie: "Hi, Carol. This is Debbie at ACME
Construction. I'm actually traveling right now, but I took a break to
look after my clients. I just got off the phone with Roger at the office
and he's e-mailing you our bid. Is there anything else you need?"
Which of the two is going to make a better impression on Carol, not to mention the Highway Patrol? In just this small example, we saw that Dave's multitasking created a dismal performance, while Debbie's ability to focus allowed her to fully serve her customer.
The human mind is composed of several functional areas. Each of these areas is capable of doing only one thing at a time. Tasks like driving and writing cannot be done simultaneously. You have to switch between them. There is some switching cost in processing power every time your mind switches between tasks. When you are trying to carry on a phone conversation and read e-mail, this becomes readily apparent. Not only is it rude, but it requires you to take more time to have the conversation and read the e-mail than if you did the tasks separately.
When multitasking results in a performance hit, you can arrive at an efficiency of zero. For example, a customer calls Dave. Dave is busy multitasking, and the customer--now feeling like Dave isn't listening, takes his money elsewhere.
For electrical contractors, multitasking can literally be the kiss of death. When electricians are around energized circuits, they cannot be talking about their outside interests or engaging their minds in anything other than the work at hand. Another word for multitasking is "inattention." Keep that in mind, and you'll be much further ahead.
Finally, consider that a core concept in martial arts is summed up in one word: Focus.
More thoughts on time managementThe phrase "time management" is an unfortunate language quirk. You can't really manage time. It just is. You can't gain time, create time, or even lose time. Time is what it is, regardless of what we do. And, paradoxically, many common "time management" techniques and practices are timewasters because they divert limited resources (such as time) to the wrong things.
It would be better to say "time allocation" or "activity management" "time usage" or some other phraseology to indicate that it's not time itself you're managing but how you use the time that exists. But we'll use the common terminology here to avoid confusion.
Some things time management is not:
Some things good time management involves:
We've highlighted only some of the factors involved in good time management. We actually teach extreme time management, which is a methodology that allows you to make effective use of your time almost second nature. You don't need a complicated system. Our system puts many of the variables on autopilot, so you have more time to do what you need to do. Our system goes way beyond most other systems in results, yet is far simpler.
Contact us for a presentation to your organization:
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